Take Up Your Cross #2

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”  Galatians 6:1-5

Maybe you read my last post, and it made you feel guilty.  Well, we should all feel guilty because we often are.  However, just as there is a place for denying ourselves to help another person, there are times we need to ask for help as well.

If we try to reach an impossible standard of self-sacrifice, we’re in danger of deceiving ourselves into thinking we’re the perfect martyr.  We may become prideful and secretly resentful. This is sin. We need to continually “test our action” to be sure that we have the best interests of the other at heart, and that we’re not burning out by trying to do it all.  We should not compare ourselves to others, but search our motives, time and abilities so that we become the best disciple that we can be.

Sometimes this requires compromise or thinking outside of the box.  Consider some of the examples I gave yesterday:

  • Can your committee consider everyone’s ideas, then make a decision as a team?  This allows other ideas to be considered but doesn’t require allowing one person to “rule the roost.”
  • If your spouse’s new job takes them away from weekday responsibilities, can they help you with chores that can be done on weekends, or that need to be done less frequently?
  • If you children move far away, you might consider moving yourself when you retire.
  • Can that church task be undertaken at a different time that allows you to continue your usual schedule? Is there someone else you can suggest who might be a better fit for the position?  Could you offer to help some of the time, but not every week?
  • Sorry, there’s no excuse for being courteous to those who serve you.  That just requires a bit of patience and self-control (fruit of the spirit we should all be developing)

Sometimes saying no or asking for help allows another Christian to say yes and grow in maturity and faith.  Sometimes saying no is just plain selfish.  You can’t do it all;  but you must do what you can.  Pray for discernment.  Take up your cross.  The one God has planned for you.

If you missed the first post, or want to read more on the topic, see these posts:

Take Up Your Cross

Serving God with Your Gifts

Martin Luther on Serving Others

Putting Others First

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