The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Life!

March 9, 2013

You have to pick up your burdens to enjoy blessings

Keeping the Faith

Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published June 19, 2002. Davis passed away Aug. 1, 2010, of a sudden illness.

Some time ago, Neale Clark came into my office and handed me a small, clear-blue object that resembled a flattened teardrop.

“It’s a blessing,” he said.

Then, he told me this story.

There were some men traveling over rough terrain. Near nightfall, they approached a river with swift currents.

An angel appeared and told them to pick up some rocks and put them in their pockets. The stones would provide ballast to keep the travelers safe as they crossed the river.

At first, the men were eager to pursue the idea and began to collect rocks as quickly as they could. Once their pockets were full, however, the added weight seemed cumbersome, and some chose to lighten their loads a little by tossing away some of the rocks.

Safely across the rapids, the tired band of men settled down for a night’s rest.

Just as the first rays of sunlight awakened them, the men got up to empty their pockets. To their amazement, each stone had turned to a precious jewel. Those who had chosen a lighter freight across the water were sorely disappointed they had not hung on to more of the rocks.

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I’m firmly convinced that every burden carries the potential for a blessing. Some burdens are thrust upon us. Illness, a family crisis, a hassle at work or an unexpected financial strain.

Our attitude toward how we handle those situations will determine whether or not they are blessings in disguise. If we choose to rely on our faith and scriptural principles and do our part to work through them, we will develop strength of character and become equipped by our experiences to help other pilgrims who face those same problems along the journey.

Other burdens are optional. Going out of our way to help someone. Giving up some personal time to provide a service to our church, mosque or synagogue or to our community.

Some of these optional burdens can be cumbersome. They may involve some unpleasant tasks, and they might wind up costing us more time than we want to expend.

That’s the point where we need to remember Neale’s little parable.

Do we want to come safely across the river of life only to find we’ve collected only a few blessings, because we were spiritually too wimpy to carry a greater load?

Life is so short, and there are so many needs around us. Do we want to forfeit opportunities to provide blessings for others?

Those needs — that we can help to meet by picking up part of someone else’s load — will bring the blessings that cannot be measured in the wealth of precious jewels. They are measured on the scales of eternal value.

I think the Apostle Paul, a man who started his life as a pompous, selfish man, learned this vital truth and was passing it on to the early Christians at Galatia, when he told them, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

The road is rocky, and the water is wide. Will you be the one who will carry an extra burden today so that someone else can enjoy a blessing?

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