Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.

Dear friends,

A few days ago, Pauline was talking to someone who was going through a tough time. She asked them what support was available for them, and they replied that they never asked for help, as they didn’t feel comfortable doing so. They both agreed that if the situation was reversed, and they were the ones being asked to assist, they would immediately drop what they were doing and go to support their friend in need. It seems that asking for help yourself, when you are the one who is usually strong enough to do the helping, can be almost impossible, either because it seems like a sign of weakness, but more often because we simply don’t want to inconvenience the person we might have asked – in other words, we are willing to shoulder the burdens of others but feel our own burdens are just too heavy (or unimportant) for others to share.

Thinking about this conversation later, we were reminded of the lovely verses in the song ‘Brother, sister, let me serve you’:

Brother, sister, let me serve you;
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

The writer of the song is right: allowing others to serve us requires grace. It is far too easy to assume that we can and should do it all ourselves, but doing so means that we deny others the gracious gift of service, as well as preventing them from fulfilling the law of Christ in this regard (Galatians 6:2). The day after this conversation, we happened to mention to a young friend that we had a task we were finding difficult to fulfil when they piped up, ‘I can help with that! It would give me a purpose too!’ We had not asked them to help us because we had assumed it would be too much for them, so it was humbling to realise that they were eager for the opportunity this simple thing had given them, and that, through our own weakness, God was giving us a chance to strengthen them.

So let us not be wary of asking for help when we need it, because God will use it to bless the one who is allowed to serve us. We might even experience His grace ourselves, when we accept that we cannot do it all.

With our love and prayers,
Matthew and Pauline