‘Bear one another’s burdens’


Your pastor speaks

By the Rev. Ben Hunt



“I just wish that I could hear from God like I see other people hearing from him,” my friend had shared with me just months before. He was a relatively young Christian with a loving heart and — just like me — with plenty left to work on in his life.

Months later, I would be sitting in the visiting area of a local jail, speaking with him as he was to leave for prison. It looked like he would be gone for years, and in my pasts visits he had been understandably grieving.

But this day was different. When he came around the corner and I saw his face, I leaned forward. It was easy to see that something was very, very different. What could it be?

When my friend sat down, I asked him, “So how are you this morning?”

“Great,” he said. “I was up all night. I was reading a passage of Scripture, the same one, over and over.”

“What passage?” I asked.

“It’s from 1 Corinthians 12,” he said with a smile.

He went on to tell me that he had, sitting in a jail cell, convicted and condemned, finally heard from God. He knew it, and he was overjoyed. He couldn’t stop smiling as he relayed to me what God had shown him about this passage of Scripture.

“You know the part where God says …” he said …

“On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:22-26)

“Yes,” I replied. “It’s one of my favorite passages of Scripture.”

“Well,” he said with joyful tears in his eyes, “that’s me. I’m the less honorable one. And I need to be in the body. I’m part of it all.”

I realized that my friend had heard from God through His Word to us. And it had changed him, literally, overnight.

“Tell everyone, won’t you?,” he asked me passionately. “Tell everyone what God showed me about all of us.” I promised I would.

Later that day, and before I would have opportunity to gather again with my and my friend’s fellow believers, I attended a meeting of spiritual leaders who were coming together from many different churches and denominations, seeking to be led by God in a Spirit-born, God-glorifying, biblically sound effort to reach out to our community.

As the meeting began, the pastor who was coordinating the meeting opened it with a prayer and then said, “There’s something we need to do before we do anything else,” he said quietly. “I want you all to look at this. Look at it, and then we‘re going to speak it out loud together.”

He placed a transparency on the screen of an overhead projector. Shining on the wall of the meeting room, big and bright as could be, were the following words:

“On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:22-26)

In the “seeming” destitution of a jail cell, one brother in Christ, convicted and condemned, heard from God. In the “seeming” serenity of a pastor’s office, another brother in Christ, respected and revered, heard the same thing.

That’s the kind of oneness that we as God’s people can manifest when we’re listening to God with humility and to one another with compassion.

“Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking (in your obedience to it.” (Galatians 6:2)

Amen.

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Your pastor speaks

By the Rev. Ben Hunt

Ben Hunt is a bishop, teacher, and missionary with The International Church Network.

Ben Hunt is a bishop, teacher, and missionary with The International Church Network.