Too much to carry

I’ve seen full shopping carts at Costco before, but none as full to overflowing as one I saw recently. A lady had one of those flatbed carts that you can get more on. She had very skillfully stacked it and now she was at check out. She kept taking things off the cart and putting on the belt to be scanned. I wondered if there were any muffins left in the bakery or if she had bought them out. There was produce and food items and household items and who knows what else underneath the mountain of things on that cart.

I stood in line for a little bit and bought the four items I was getting. The lady in the other line was still taking things off her cart and putting them on the scanner. She had been doing that the whole time I had been in line and it appeared she was barely halfway through.

A thing that struck me as I watched her, more than just how much she was buying, was that she appeared to be all alone. She was obviously buying for a large group. Why weren’t any of them there to help her unload her cart and take all this out to her truck?

Maybe she had told others not to worry, she could handle it. Maybe she had been hoping somebody would offer to come along, but she didn’t want to ask anybody for help. Maybe others were too busy to spend an hour or two on a Costco run.

Sometimes in the Christian life we’re like that lady at Costco. Our cart is overflowing with trials and challenges. We try to take stuff off the cart but the mountain doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller. We don’t know how we’re going to carry all these burdens, but we don’t want to bother anybody else, and our pride causes us to be hesitant to admit we need help.

I wondered why the lady hadn’t asked for help, and I also wondered why nobody had offered to help. At least one person who was going to be taking part in eating all this food should have asked the question: Is help needed in getting all the food and supplies? It is easy to take the approach: I’ll help if I’m asked. Christlike service notices needs and offers to help before we are asked.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). It doesn’t say, “Carry each other’s burdens, if you are asked.” Jesus carried the burden of our sin to the cross for us before we even asked.

The Lord invites us to admit our cart is too full and we can’t carry it all ourselves. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (I Peter 5:7). You don’t have to bear all those burdens and worries by yourself. The Lord sees how much you have to carry. He knows better than you do that it is too much for you. He has come to carry the load. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (Psalm 68:19).

The load is never too heavy for Jesus. Our Helper and Savior has come.

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Looking to love

A teenage mom wanted to have a baby so that there would be somebody in her life that would truly love her. That’s not the reason God created us. The Lord was not lonely and longing for somebody who would love Him. The Triune God is complete in Himself. He created us not so much to receive love from us but more out of a desire to have people He could shower His love upon. God isn’t just looking for love. He is looking to love.

Jesus said the greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). He wants us to love Him, but not really because He needs our love. Thinking of God as needing our love is a rather low view of God. The Lord wants us to love Him because He loves us and wants the best for us. He knows the best way to live, the way that will bring the most joy and peace to our life, is to love the Lord with all you have.

The Lord is looking to love you. “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). It is incredible to think that the holy God delights in undeserving sinners like us, and yet that is what He does. That is grace. The love that He longs to lavish upon us quiets our soul and brings peace to our easily troubled heart.

Because we are loved, we love like Jesus loves. Because we are loved, we don’t have to desperately look for love. Instead we look to love. Instead of longing for people who will tell us we’re great and wonderful and satisfy our desires, we pray God will bring people into our lives that we can shower love upon. We have been given love in abundance in Christ, and so we look to share that gracious love. And when we get opportunities to love and serve people we rejoice.

We often ask the wrong question in our relationships. Our old nature asks the question, “How can I get people to love me?” When we have been captivated by the love of Jesus and it is overflowing in our lives, then the question we ask is, “How can I best love the people God has brought into my life? How can I show them love and share with them the abundant love of Jesus?”

We get to live and love as ones who are loved by Jesus.