Share the Load

by | Aug 21, 2022 | God's Hands, Helping, Rest, Support

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2 NIV)

With more than 2,000 miles to walk, he chose carefully what to put in his backpack.

World War II was over, and Earl Shaffer needed to walk it out of his system. He chose the Appalachian (or Government) Trail to do so. At the time, the trail began at Oglethorpe, Georgia, USA, and extended to Mount Katahdin, Maine. Since most of the men had been away fighting in the war, the trail had fallen into disrepair, making the journey more challenging.

Earl’s motto was, “Carry as little as possible but choose that little with care.” And he did. He carried a survival tent, poncho, rain hat, knife, axe, sewing kit, snake-bite kit, cook kit, clothing, and a week’s worth of food. Even though he chose the bare minimum to put in his pack, he still felt loaded down.

Because of Earl’s training and determination — and because he chose with care what he carried — he became the first person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.

I’ve done a little backpacking myself, and I know how important it is to choose my load with care. My first extended backpacking trip with my daughter revealed that I hadn’t learned Earl’s wisdom. My pack weighed in at fifty pounds and my daughter’s at thirty-five. Though we had fun, we also experienced misery because of unnecessary weight. Our loads slowed us down and gave us a backache.

What Paul states in today’s verse makes common sense. Any burden shared is lighter. Jesus said that the load of obeying Him was easy, so if following Him is causing me misery, I must be doing something wrong.

Burdens are cumbersome when I carry the wrong things in my life’s pack. They might include bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, immorality, depression, frustration, hurt, or lies. When I carry unhealthy emotions, actions, or relationships, my soul aches, and no one wants to help me bear them.

My helping others and their helping me also makes the load lighter. Many people helped Earl along the way, making his journey more bearable. People took him to get food and supplies. People gave him a place to stay out of the inclement mountain weather. Giving others permission to hold me accountable, helping others to bear their life loads, and depending on God for strength are all vital.

Don’t try to do life alone. Share the load.

Prayer: Father, motivate us to carry each other’s loads, and most of all, to depend on You for strength to do so. Amen.

Martin Wiles
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

Reprinted with author’s permission from PresbyCan Daily Devotionals


Share the Load