Carrying the Load
When I was growing up in the Stockton household, like many of you, I had chores. In the summer, my chores centered around the yard, garden and garage. In the winter, I helped out with washing the dishes and vacuuming the carpet. I even learned how to do laundry although not very well according to my mother but that’s a story for another day. My parents both worked in the factory so everyone had to pitch in and do chores. In other words, we all had to help carry the load. Cheri and I taught our sons to do chores and now we have noticed that our grandchildren have chores. Everyone needs to learn the fundamental principle of carrying the load.
If you think about it, carrying your portion of the load translates to every grouping of people. Whether it’s family, church, business, team or civic organization, there are things that must get done and coincidingly, there is the need for the necessary people to accomplish the purpose, vision and goals of the group. I’m sure you’ve experienced this, but it takes everyone to carry the load regardless of the group! And what happens when someone doesn’t carry their portion of the load? That’s right. Everyone suffers even to the point of the group dissolving because of the lack of commitment and effectiveness.
As an illustration, the military does log training to teach teamwork and the criticality of everyone carrying the load. Take a close look at the picture below. Can you imagine when one or two or three soldiers drop out? The log eventually gets too heavy for the remaining soldiers to carry and it crashes to the ground. A successful log carry takes teamwork, reasonable distribution of the weight and everyone giving their best effort. Even though it’s hard and exhausting, the soldier quickly learns it’s possible if everyone carries their load.
It is often overlooked or ignored by even church members but the church has the same need for everyone affiliated with the local church, as for all local churches, to help carry the load of ministry. The load of ministry includes giving and serving and let’s not forget preparation in and through prayer, fellowship, discipleship and worship.
What can you do to make the shift in taking your place under the weight of the local church ministry?
1. Being available and consistent with your preparation. This will strengthen you and help you grow spiritually so you can handle your part of the load. The soldiers in the picture above run and do calisthenics daily otherwise they couldn’t handle the log drill. In a similar way, you too will need to constantly prepare for the weight of ministry through prayer, fellowship, discipleship and worship.
Hebrews 10:24-25 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
2. Recognizing your spiritual gift and putting it into practice. In fact, the Holy Spirit has given each Christian a spiritual gift for ministry distributing the load of the ministry. I often wonder why only 10-20% of Christians, as reported by Barna Group, actually take this seriously.
Romans 12:4-6 “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us . . .”
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
3. Sharing your faith and helping others grow in their faith. In other words, “witness and make disciples.” These are just some of the responsibilities that every Christian participates in regardless of our gift and calling.
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
2 Timothy 2:1-2 “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”
4. Giving generously and cheerfully. When we think about carrying the load of the church, we must also include making necessary resources available to operate the ministries of the church. Where do those resources come from? God’s people. God has always provided through His people. In the Old Testament we read about the tithe and in the New Testament we read about generosity. After all, how can a Christian give less than what was required in the law?
Mal 3:7-8 “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.”
2 Cor 9:6-7 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
1 Tim 6:17-18 “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share . . .”
Whether functioning as a family or the church, we all have to do our chores. Our chores in and through the church are the necessary tasks that accomplish the ministry. It is your part in helping to carry the load. After all, when we all do our part, it’s entirely possible to have a thriving and growing church ministry!
A Work in Progress,