Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Burden

I recently saw a list of some attributes of God. Normally, that’s not anything new – I’ve seen multiple lists like this over the years and I’m sure many of us could easily come up with a list of our own… awesome, counselor, deliverer, etc. But one attribute on this particular list caught my attention; it was a word I’ve never seen on such lists before and one I’d never think to add – it was Burden.

Burden? As an attribute of God? I don’t know about you, but that word has a pretty negative connotation to me. I immediately think of something heavy, tiresome, and difficult. I don’t want to be burdened! How is this considered a Godly attribute? I decided to do some in-depth research, but my 5-minutes on Google produced few results. I concluded that it didn’t make any sense and whoever made that list was a tad confused.

However, over the next several days, it kept coming to mind. How could God be a burden? Then I began to wonder – do I sometimes consider God a burden? Can living a Christian life be burdensome to us? What about when all my coworkers go out on Friday night, but I’m not invited? What about when people automatically label Christians as hypocrites or narrow-minded or judgmental? What about when I really want to go to Disney World for vacation, but I feel the leading to go on a mission trip or volunteer at VBS instead? Is it a burden to give my money to the church’s generosity program instead of having my daily Starbucks?

Those kinds of questions convicted me a bit. I often do my “Christian duty,” but I sometimes do it while grumbling under my breath. And just while typing that sentence, I thought, “Well, gee, don’t most things we consider to be a 'duty' often seem burdensome to us?” So maybe calling it a ”duty” is wrong. What if we called it an “opportunity” instead?

Anywho, back to what I saying. I’m sure we can all think of an instance when being a Christian was harder than we’d like. But how many times have we heard someone say how much fun they had volunteering for VBS, or how much they learned about God on a mission trip. Ever think that by not going out on Friday night, we possibly avoided catastrophe and a midnight call from a jail cell (or at least a hangover)? And how good do you feel after helping someone in need, seeing their smile as they thank you? And has someone’s inaccurate view of Christianity ever opened the door for a good discussion?

While I'm sure this is not even close to what the author of the attributes list intended, my point is sometimes doing something we don’t want to do (or not doing something we do want to do) can feel burdensome, but God only has the best intentions for us. After all, in Matthew 11:30, Jesus says, “for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” It’s a light burden, even if that sounds like an oxymoron.

All this is kind of floating around in my head, a bit disjointed, so I apologize if this blog is somewhat rambly (it’s a new word I just made up; go with it). I thought maybe y’all could ramble through it with me. :-)

One more thing – I looked up “burden” in the dictionary and, yes, one of the definitions is “that which is borne with difficulty; obligation.” But, another definition is simply “that which is carried.” And since we have God with us at all times, maybe being burdened by God is actually a good thing.

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