What is Your Burden?
George Mylne, 1864
Who has not a burden to bear in this world of burdens? All men have some burden or another — and they have the heaviest burden who think that they have none to bear.
Do you ask me, reader, what I mean? Why, is not sin a burden — unpardoned sin? What man has such a heavy load upon his back, as he whose transgressions are not forgiven, whose sins are not covered — as he, who walks about with a burden on him which will sink him into the bottomless pit, if he has it not taken off him? And yet, for the most part, those are the very men, who do not feel the burden.
They don't see their sins — they don't see their danger. They are full of earthly pleasure — their heart is as light as a feather. What do such men know of the burden of sin? How can they value the Savior's words, "Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest?" (Matthew 11:28.) Poor souls, may God have mercy upon them! May He open their eyes to see their sin! May He cause them to feel their burden, before they sink under it, never more to rise! May He show them the way to Jesus, that the burden that is upon them may be taken off, and all their sins be cast into the depths of the sea!
Reader, shall I tell you what led me to write this tract? I was reading lately to some sick people in the fourth chapter of Nehemiah, and there I read, "The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed" 5:10. I spoke of it to them, and I thought it would be a good subject for you and I. You must have some burden to bear. Perhaps you feel it sorely — perhaps your strength is decayed. Let us see whether we can encourage one another out of the Word of the Lord.
Reader, what is your burden? Are your sins become heavy to you? Once you did not feel them — you did not know you had them. You carried them about with you wherever you went, but the Prince of the power of the air did not let you feel them — He made you walk with lightness of heart. He made you trip merrily along, as though you had no burden to bear. But oh, how things are changed! Now your "transgressions are with you, and as for your sins, you know them." (Isaiah 59:12.) "The yoke of your transgressions is bound upon you; they are wreathed, and come up upon your neck." Therefore you say, "He has made my strength to fail" — therefore your "sighs are many, and your "heart is faint." (Lam. 1:14, 22.)
Oh, reader, are you looking to Jesus? If so, why is your burden still upon you? Did He not bear your sins in His own body on the tree? (1 Peter 2:24.) Cannot you say, "The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all"? (Isaiah 53:6.) Why then do you take upon you what Jesus has taken from you? If He has borne the burden, why do you bear it too? Friend, this is not the way of grace — this is not the way that Jesus saves you. He saves you to free you — to take your burden from you. Walk, then, in your liberty — and go lightly in your grace. But if you cannot rejoice in your liberty, if you will bear your own burden still — no wonder that your strength is decayed — no wonder that your heart is gone. Don't you know that the weight of your sins made Jesus sweat drops of blood — it weighed Him to the ground? How then can you seem to bear the burden; and not faint beneath its load? Be wise, my friend — be hopeful, and believing. Open your eyes wide, and read the promises. Open your ear, and hear all that Jesus says to you — so shall your burden fall from your back. In the Cross you shall find liberty — in the Cross you shall have peace.
Reader, perhaps you know that God has had mercy upon you, and yet you feel a great burden upon you — the body of sin and death. Paul felt this burden. It made him cry out, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Romans 7:24. You feel your body a constant weight upon you. How often it makes your soul heavy! How much longer you would pray, and meditate on the word of God, if your body would only let you! How much it keeps you down! Sometimes you are sick — sometimes you are drowsy — you cannot do the things that you would. Your sinful body is like a great black curtain hung up between you and your God. Oh how often the strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed! How often you faint beneath the load!
And then there is the fleshly mind. The mind, that will go after the world, when you wish it to go after God — the soul which will cleave to the dust, when you desire to feel that you are risen with Christ — sitting in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Then there are your tempers — your evil passions — that are ever at work — refusing to be brought into captivity unto the obedience of Christ. Oh, my friend, all these things are indeed against you. How often they worry you! How much they wear you out! The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed — you are ready to faint.
Paul said, "Oh wretched man that I am!" But Paul said something more: "I thank God through Jesus Christ." (Romans 7:25.) He knew that God was able to help him — that He had helped him before — that he was ready to help him again. Paul looked to Jesus, who was strong to help — mighty to save. He felt the thorn in the flesh — it was a great burden to him. He thrice besought the Lord that it might depart from him. And what said God? "My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:7-9.) This was how Paul bore his burdens. Christian reader, this is how you must bear yours.
Oh how many burdens there are in life! Are you the father of a family? How many cares this brings with it! All your children to think of — to clothe and to feed, and to put out in the world — and if you are a Christian, their souls to think of — their sins to grieve you — their ignorance to instruct. This, no doubt, is a great burden. Are you fainting under it! Is your strength decayed?
Are you a widow with many children? How desolate you felt in the first days of your widowhood! How desolate it may be — you still feel! Have you much ado to find your children bread? How hard you work for them! In how many ways are you tired for them! Is the strength of the bearers of burdens decayed? Are you likely to faint?
Perhaps your time is occupied in teaching — you have many young scholars under your care. You have dull ones to bear with — idle ones to reason with — backward ones to bring on — mischievous ones to correct. What a worry you live in! How much is there to try your patience! You think you must give it up — that you can bear it no longer!
It may be your lot to work a shop — from morning to night to wait upon your customers — or yet to grow weary because no one comes to buy. Sometimes you are tired — often you are anxious — some customers are tiresome and hard to please — you often shut up shop with a fainting body, and a heavy heart — the strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed.
Are you a servant in some family — the only one to do all the work! Up late, and rising early — to cook — to wash — to sweep — to scour — the bell to answer — the table to spread. All to be done by you alone — all to come out of your own strength! Who can tell how weary you feel — how often you are likely to drop, from too much work!
Reader, you may be tried in some of these, or in many other ways. You may have a burden of sickness — of pain — of weakness — of depressed spirits — who can tell all the burdens? Who can count all the cares? But, whatever your burden may be, I hope you know how to bear it — and where to look for help. "The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him." (Psalm 25:14.) There is a secret strength laid up for God's people, that the world knows not of.
Oh, my heavy-laden friend, are you looking to Jesus? Is His name precious to you? Have you washed in His blood? Have you brought the burden of your sins to His cross — have you left the burden there? Then, bring to Him the burden of your sorrows — your weariness — and your cares. Will He not care for you? Will He not help you? Will He not put strength in you? Oh yes, Jesus is a true Helper — there is none like Him — all power is His — all kindness too.
Oh, you bearers of burdens, is your strength decayed? Lo "He gives power to the faint; and to those who have no might He increases strength." "Those who wait upon Him shall renew their strength." (Isaiah 40:29, 31.) Then cast your burden upon this mighty Jesus! He is pledged to sustain you — fear not, neither be afraid. (Psalm 55:22.)
Reader, there is a yoke that is easy, and a burden that is light. (Matthew 11:30.) I mean the cross of Christ. And why is Christ's yoke easy and His burden light?
1. Because it takes away the heaviest burden of all — the load of your sins. What is taken away, is surely light to bear.
2. Because it gives you strength to bear every other burden — so that the burden becomes no burden — Christ bears it for you.
3. He bids you do many things that flesh cannot do — He gives you many things to bear that flesh does not like — but then He Himself gives all the strength — so that it is not you that bear the burden, but Christ that bears it for you.
4. Because all the while He can fill your heart with joy and gladness.