Do You Lighten the Burden?
LIFE brings with it all kinds of burdens to bear. Among the heaviest, without a doubt, are the burdens that go with responsibility. Especially are such burdens heavy upon parents and upon those in supervisory positions, such as employers, foremen, schoolteachers and overseers in Christian congregations. If we do to others as we would have them do to us, then, if at all possible, we certainly will lighten rather than increase their burdens.—Luke 6:31.
Take, for example, a father. As the head of his family he has the burden of providing for their needs—food, clothing and shelter. More than that, he must discipline his children, supply them with needed recreation and see that the religious or spiritual needs of his family are met.—1 Tim. 5:8.
Are you a wife? Then it is in your own interest to lighten the burdens of your husband, if possible. One way in which you can do this is by being content with what he is able to provide for his family. Your taking a keen interest in keeping your home neat and clean and your deriving pleasure from preparing meals for your family will certainly lighten your husband’s burdens, for he is concerned about keeping you happy and contented.—Prov. 31:15, 26, 27.
Then again, as a good wife, if you cooperate with your husband in the disciplining of the children, teaching them to respect their father, you can help a great deal to lighten his particularly heavy burden in these modern times. Lending a patient ear when he shares his problems with you will have the same effect. You can also lighten your husband’s burden by words of appreciation for his faithfulness and dependability. Yes, by manifesting understanding, contentment, empathy and appreciation you can greatly lighten the burden of your breadwinner.—Eph. 5:22, 33.
Are you a youth living at home with your parents? You also can lighten the burden of those closest to you, your parents. How so? By first of all recognizing that they love you more, and are more interested in your welfare, than any companions of your own age are. So it is to your own interest to be obedient to their requests and submit to their wishes. Show appreciation for all that your parents have done for you. You represent a great investment on their part—in time, money, energy and concern. All they ask is that you make good; you could never repay them for their total expenditures on you.—Eph. 6:1-3; Col. 3:20.
Yes, be respectful toward your parents. Feel free to confide in them; the “generation gap” need not be. Your sharing confidences with your parents builds them up, strengthens them and is for your own good. Then again, take good care of the things that your parents provide for you, be it clothing or other things such as a bicycle. You can also lighten their burden by taking good care of your health, for that, too, is their concern. So eat a balanced diet of wholesome foods. A diet restricted largely to candy, cake, ice cream and soda pop does not build sound bodies. Do not take needless chances; do not risk accidents or flirt with death in the quest for thrills, “kicks,” or in the name of sports.
What about in school? You can do much to help your teachers to bear their burden of imparting knowledge to you by behaving yourself and applying yourself diligently to the acquiring of knowledge.
Are you an employee? Then the same principles also apply to your conduct at the place of employment. Are you dependable? Are you attentive and quick to learn? Are you conscientious, honest? Do you do your best? In all such ways you can lighten the burden of your employer or your foreman. As a sign in an office of a United States agency put it: “Are you helping to solve the problem or are you a part of the problem?”—Col. 3:22, 23.
This matter of lightening the burdens of others has application also in religious matters. When on earth Jesus Christ castigated the religious leaders. Instead of trying to lighten the burdens of others, he said, ‘they put heavy loads on the shoulders of men but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to help them bear these burdens.’—Matt. 23:2, 4.
In contrast, Jesus offered real help to those who were burdened down by their religious leaders, as well as by economic conditions and by their own sins. “Come to me,” Jesus said, “all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and become my disciples, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.”—Matt. 11:28-30.
In ways both practical and helpful Jesus lightened the burdens of others. He gave them the truth that set them free from the religious burdens their leaders had placed upon them. He helped them to understand and appreciate God’s goodness, His will and purposes. He showed compassion for them and pointed out to them how they could obtain forgiveness of sins. He also lightened many of their physical burdens by performing miracles.—Matt. 9:36; 4:23-25; John 8:32.
To be sure, if you truly are a Christian minister of God today, you cannot unburden people to the same extent that Jesus did. But you can help to set men free from the burdens placed upon them by false religion. By telling those “toiling and loaded down” the good news of God’s kingdom, and of God’s provision for salvation by means of his Son, and how to apply Bible principles in their lives, you can greatly refresh them and lift up their spirits. Having received freely, should you not give freely?—Matt. 10:7, 8.
There is satisfaction in lightening the burden of others, for then you are doing to others what you would have them do to you. You thereby bring happiness to others and even more to yourself. And where the help you may give is from God’s Word, then praise goes to Him: “The ministry of this public service is . . . rich with many expressions of thanks to God.”—2 Cor. 9:12; Acts 20:35.