Tag Archives: stress

The Burden Bearer

The Burden Bearer

Long ago, in a faraway country village lived a hard working people known as the rock carriers. Their job was to remove the large stones that blocked the village farmers from plowing their fields. Day after day, year after year, the rock carriers labored at the heavy task of carrying these large stones out of the fields all the way to a distant valley. This was very hard work and the rock carriers grew tired. One day, the rock carriers were delighted to see one of their very own, a young boy, begin to grow and exhibit great strength. As he grew taller and his shoulders grew wider, the rock carriers began to have this strong young man carry their rocks. One by one, they piled their stones onto his shoulders. The larger he grew, the more weight he could carry. He was strong, he could handle the load. He worked tirelessly. Soon, the entire group of rock carriers relied on this one strongman to do their work. They became lazy. And he became tired. Yet they continued to stack up the rocks on his shoulders. After many years, they noticed that the strongman was walking slower now. He began to stoop over while he walked the road to the distant valley. This was no problem for them; in fact, it was easier to just place the rocks on his back rather than all the way up on his shoulders. He was saving them even more work. As the days passed, the strongman stooped farther and farther, until one day he was looking straight at the ground. He was completely doubled over. The villagers continued to pile on their rocks. They hadn’t noticed that the strongman was no longer moving forward. All they knew was that he was such a helper, their lives were so much easier now. The rocks continued to pile up until one day, someone noticed that the strongman had disappeared. How dare he take a day off? Had he gotten lazy and abandoned them when they needed him the most?  So the village rock carriers had to start carrying the rocks again. But they had to carry the rocks all the way around the huge pile of rocks that was now in the middle of the village road. How rude of the strongman to leave the rocks there!

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Jesus) Matthew 11:28

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where’s the passion?

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Holy Week, sometimes referred to as Passion Week. Beginning with Palm Sunday and extending to Easter, we recall the Passion of Christ, the road He walked that led Him to the cross. It’s a great time for Christ-followers to get re-focused on matters of faith and worship.

Leading into this season of ministry, there are many times that I ask the question, “where is the passion?” Obviously, Christ cared enough and was committed enough to do whatever it took to save us. But it seems, at times, that there is a lack of response on the part of those of us who have been saved. Allow me to explain:

On any given Sunday, during music and worship, I am amazed at how many people have no response. I mean they either just stand or sit there, expressionless, unmoved. They don’t sing, or in any other way engage in the music. I realize one can worship by listening but there is no getting around the idea that we are told in scripture to sing, clap our hands and worship God. Outward worship is simply a way to express love for God, it is a “spilling over” of what is in our spirits. I wonder, do these people sense anything in their hearts? Are they, in any way, moved in their spirits? Sometimes I preach about God’s love, His sacrifice, His intense desire to know us…and there are times when there is no response. In these times, I have to ask, “where is the passion?” This explains why the average Christian will not be in a local worship gathering at church tomorrow.  Recent research indicates that church attendance doesn’t mean what it used to for Christ-followers. Where is the passion?

The real issue isn’t with what is happening or not happening in corporate worship gatherings. I think Sunday is just a snapshot of the rest of life. I believe that the cares of life have acted like wet blanket on a fire. Stress kills passion. Pain has a way of burying it. Distractions prevent us from feeling and discouragement prevents us from expressing love for God.

One of the more disconcerting parts for me is, people don’t seem to hold back in their passion for other things.  Tonight’s NCAA Basketball Final Four will blow up Facebook and Twitter. This certainly is a season of political posturing – most people will gladly let you know where they stand on the issues. But spirituality has become taboo for many people in our culture – including those who have been saved from hell by God. It just shouldn’t be this way.

I am asking you to reconsider your approach and response to God, especially during Passion Week. He gave everything for you. How does that make you feel? Can you contain those feelings on the inside without outwardly expressing them in some way? God doesn’t need your passionate worship, but He wants it – and certainly deserves it.

Tomorrow, I will preach a message at Cross Community Church entitled: Pasión por la Vida. It will describe how passion for eternal life for you and me drove Jesus to the cross. And I plan to challenge the people of our church to be passionate in their response to the Passion of Jesus. Join us if you are able.