by Rose Adle
“I don’t want to be a burden to anyone,” said tons of 21st century North Americans tons of times.
How highly we prize independence. And, on the flipside, how much does our culture subtly deride the needing and receiving of help.
In families, we see how precious it is not only to serve, but also to be served, depending on circumstances.
A person with disabilities, disease or difficulties may think, “I’m not much help to anyone.” A person who is very old or very young might think the same thing. Without meaning to be dismissive of the feelings of a dear person with such thoughts, I have to disagree.
The prevailing message of our culture could make a person with fewer functional capacities feel less valuable. Christian families see how totally bogus that is. In a family, there will be members who are dependent at different times for different reasons. The people who cannot do much by one standard, nevertheless, give much, by another. They give to others the opportunity to grow in patience and kindness and generosity. They give to those doers a chance to do something for someone else.
I burden my family. They burden me too. This is a fine fact of life in our biological families and also in the family of God. We are called to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” (Galatians 6:2). This is not just something we do when we feel gospel-motivated. It’s something we do day-in, day-out. It’s the Law of Christ that compels us out of love to serve our neighbor, for our good and for the good of those around us. We are blessed in it.
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).
That is a big deal. Did you read that bit about being worse than an unbeliever? We are called to provide for others, and this is only possible because (1) there are people in need, and (2) they are willing to be helped and (3) there are people who can do the helping. Provide for others. Or be provided for. Both are necessary.
The Lord cares for His redeemed creatures through His redeemed creatures that we might all grow in faith and hope and love.
Deaconess Rosie Adle is an online instructor for the distance deaconess program of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind.