Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bear one another’s burdens

From the CANON on this blog:


4.    Friends are called upon to bear one another’s burdens

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  John 13:34

Today’s scripture reading:

Ruth 1

Today’s devotional:

The Christian life isn’t free of obligations. The many “one anothers” in the Bible are God’s instructions about how to treat people in our circles and give of ourselves to enrich those relationships. Yet many people today prefer not to invest in deep friendships, opting instead for casual acquaintances that demand little. The devoted loyalty of Ruth—a pagan from Moab—stands in sharp contrast to such superficiality.

Casual friends can talk about politics, movies, and sports but avoid discussing deep concerns. Then they won’t have to bear anyone else’s burdens or heartbreak. But neither will they learn the deep joy of expressing loyalty to a person in need. The human heart was created to crave intimate fellowship—the kind of connectedness that can share feelings without fear of judgment. Because of loyalty based on mutual trust and love, close companions can point out blind spots and challenge each other to greater faith.

Ruth is an example of this kind of selfless dedication. When her mother-in- law Naomi went through a bitter period of hopelessness and loss, the young widow Ruth chose to follow the older woman. Though this meant sacrificing the comforts of home and any prospect of marriage to a countryman, she demonstrated absolute allegiance.

Loyalty demands a high price that too few are willing to pay. Some hold acquaintances at arm’s length to avoid obligation. But believers are saved to stand together in love and encourage one another (“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34; “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thess. 5:11). Doing so brings blessing, even when there’s a cost.

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