*image from Mosaic church
I recently read an article through Voice of the Martyrs about the burdens we carry. Some we put on ourselves. Most we were never meant to carry. Many of us feel weighed down and find ourselves without the strength to do what really matters in life…to love others well and share the message of Jesus with them. Check out the following excerpt from VoM and see if you’re convicted as I was.
Neither drugs nor civil war can stop the spread of the gospel in Colombia. Juan and his wife, Maria, are missionaries among the indigenous people north of Cali, Colombia. Cali is controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a leftist guerilla group. Many Colombian pastors and missionaries have faced opposition from FARC and have fled the area. When Juan met with a group of fifty FARC guerrillas three years ago, however, twenty of them received Christ. As he says, “We exchange pistols for epistles.” Now, the National Liberation Army has been attacking Christian churches in the region. Recently, more than twenty churches were shut down, and many pastors fled for their lives. Guerrillas often come and demand all the tithes and offerings or take the pastor’s life. Now Juan is the only pastor left in the area, and he receives no outside aid. Still, Juan and his wife made a decision to stay and continue ministering to the people. They say, “If we are to die because we preach the Word of God, we would rather die than leave the church.” Juan does not condemn those who have left, nor does he talk about the difficulties they have faced. He prefers to share what God is doing and his burden for ministry. His mind is preoccupied, not with danger, but with reaching Colombia’s people for Christ.
Being burdened with the gospel is not the same as being weighed down with earthly concerns. Most of what we carry are earthly concerns. My wife and I joke about all the “first world problems” that we or others allow to get to them. But it’s no joke. Jesus called us to pursue what really mattered and allow Him to care for the rest.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 ESV
The burden of the gospel simply means an awareness of others’ spiritual needs. I think that comes from a very real understanding of our own spiritual need. Juan has a “burden,” but his burden is light. In following Christ’s example, and Juan’s example, we must be burdened for lost people. It’s a light load because we are always giving it away. We are not supposed to keep the good news to ourselves. Let’s allow Jesus’ burden for the lost motivate us to hang in there one more day and to share with one more person. Let’s release what was never ours to carry and pick up the message of hope to take to the nations.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30