March 30, 2018
READ: Galatians 6:1-10
A man named Simon . . . happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and . . . made him carry [the cross] behind Jesus (Luke 23:26).
I’ve spent hours beside those on their deathbeds, striving to comfort them in their last moments as well as be a comfort to their family and friends. I’ve seen bodies slowly shut down as spirits have departed from this world.
Deathbed circumstances are never the same. Sometimes the environment has a tense undertow when estranged family members come together. Their wounded hearts are evident even as the loved one, or former loved one, lies dying. Other times, there’s a jovial, yet peaceful, environment as family and friends remind the soon-to-be deceased how much he or she is loved. Still other times, people die alone because—for whatever reason—there’s no one present with them.
As I read the Gospels and consider Jesus’ final moments of life, I can’t help but notice all the people who were alongside Him at one point or another. Along the way, there were some who were a comfort, who helped Him bear the burden of His death sentence. I think of Simon of Cyrene. He’d just happened upon Jesus as He made His way to Golgotha. But Roman soldiers grabbed Simon and told him to help carry Jesus’ cross (Luke 23:26), because the Saviour was struggling physically due to the beatings and floggings He’d endured.
I think sometimes we’re a bit like Simon of Cyrene, because God asks us to “share each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2)—burdens too difficult for others to bear alone. Maybe it’s not a burden we want or would choose to bear. But if we stumble upon a situation and are called to be a ‘Simon’, through Christ’s Spirit may we faithfully bring God’s love and joy to others (v.8). Yes, “whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone” for Jesus’ sake (v.10).
365-day plan: 1 Samuel 20:1-42
Read Proverbs 11:25 and consider what can happen when we generously “refresh others”.
Who might need you to help share their burden today? How does it encourage you to know that God is with you as you help others with their struggles?