Albert Schweitzer was one of the most famous missionaries of the modern era. Leaving behind both an academic and medical career, he set up a medical clinic in French Equatorial Africa. He was 85 years old when Andrew Davison of Colgate Rochester Seminary had the privilege of visiting. Davison tells how one morning Schweitzer and some others were walking up a hill on an extremely hot day. Dr. Schweitzer walked away from the group making his way toward an African woman struggling up the hill with a large load of wood for the cook fires. Schweitzer took the entire load of wood from the woman and carried it up the hill for her. Everyone in the rest of the group was surprised and concerned that a person of Dr. Schweitzer’s age would strain himself so. Dr. Schweitzer looked at the group, then pointed to the woman and said, “No one should ever have to carry a burden like that alone.”
Paul tells us in Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” The word “carry” means to remove or lift an overwhelming load. A burden is like a huge boulder weighing someone down as they stagger along the highway of life. This may represent any number of things: sickness, a sudden tragedy, personal loss, financial difficulty, broken dreams, a failed marriage, family problems, career setbacks, or the death of a loved one. Christians are supposed to be in the restoring business, the healing business, the putting-back-together business, and the bearing-burdens business! In order for the church to function as it was designed, each of us must be committed to care for one another. More people have been brought into the church by the kindness of real Christian love than by all the theological arguments in the world, and more people have been driven from the church by the hardness and ugliness of so-called Christianity than by all the doubts in the world. Let us be ready to help a brother or sister carrying a heavy load; it will not be so heavy if it is shared.