Blessings and BurdensSeries: Thankful For. James Dewhurst November 17, 2020
Blessings & Burdens
Every significant blessing in life comes with a burden! Every employee who wants the blessing of a juicy salary, medical benefits, and a matching 401k, is first handed a job description, a work schedule, and high production quotas. Every athlete who wants the blessing of playing time is first handed a practice schedule, a work out regiment, and an opportunity to compete, without a promise of a position. Every college student who wants the blessing of a degree is first handed a schedule of classes, a syllabus for each class, and deadlines for every assignment. Blessings often come with burdens!
The reality is – Blessings don’t come without burdens, they come out of burdens!
A wise person – “Nothing in this life comes easy. Even Santa came with a clause!”
What comes easy doesn’t last, and what lasts doesn’t come easy!
4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. (ESV)
10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. (ESV)
In about a week and a half, we will be gathering around tables all over this amazing country with our family and friends, to thank God for his many blessings over this past year, by eating turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, Hawaiian sweet rolls, boats of gravy, pumpkin pie, chocolate mousse and “Jesus eggs”, cause the deviled ones got saved. But this blessing we all enjoy called Thanksgiving was once a burden.
At the first harvest feast back in 1621 at Plymouth, modeled after the colonists, nearly half of the original 102 pilgrims died in the first winter, never even making it to that first dinner. But going back a little bit further, that first dinner would never have been possible if it weren’t for the Puritans deep allegiance to God, that drove them to flee religious persecution in their home country of England and seek out a new world. One where they were free to worship God biblically, without the tyranny of the English govt.
And if all that wasn’t already enough, the British parliament later attempted to impose unfair taxes on the New World to pay for their wars. And after the conflicts of the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party, America’s right to life, liberty, property, and religious assembly had to be defended, from Britain, in an 8 year-long battle that took thousands of American lives, known as the Revolutionary War. But it was during this war that the Declaration of Independence was drafted and signed, finally establishing our freedom!
The blessing of America’s Thanksgiving came out of the burden of bloody battles!
The biggest mistake people make is wanting the blessing without the burden! The truth is, they are a package deal. Life is full of contradictions! It’s a blessing to move into that bigger house; it’s a burden to have more to clean. It’s a blessing to have that baby, but it’s a burden to get up in the middle of the night and feed it. It’s a blessing to have a flourishing business or growing ministry, but it comes with more critics, more opposition, more pressure, and more responsibility. It’s easy to handle the blessing; we love giving birth to the dream, taking the position, and enjoying the benefits, but God is looking for people who not only can handle the blessings but can also handle the burden. People who won’t give up when life gets hard. B.C. without the burden, there is no blessing!
William Penn – “No pain, no palm; No thorns, no throne; No gall, no glory; No cross, no crown.”
Charles Spurgeon – “There are no cross-wearers in heaven, who were not cross-bearers below.”
Although the cross comes with great blessings, it also comes with a burden:
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (ESV)
+The word “Deny” used in this passage, means: To disown or remove oneself!
+The phrase “Take up your cross”, means: To remove or cut off unfruitful things!
+The word “Follow” means: To cleave to or go along with competing for the dedication!
The cross offers a lifetime of freedom but it will cost us a lifetime of obedience!
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (ESV)
The problem is, we have a country full of Christians who want the blessings of the cross, without the burdens of it.
God is looking for some people who will gladly bear the burden of Jesus Christ!
Things are changing in our world church. If you boldly carry Christ, you will be mocked. You will be persecuted. You will be made fun of. You will be excluded. And you will be misunderstood. Where are the Daniels who are willing to declare, “Yes, I am different!”
Revivalist Jonathan Edwards – “True boldness for Christ transcends all. It enables the Christian to forsake all rather than Christ, and to prefer to offend all rather than Him.”
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (ESV)
Jesus taught us that there are a blessing and a burden that comes with the cross!
God might be able to trust you with blessings, but can he trust you with burdens?
But it’s not all bad! Paul reminds us that burdens lead to blessings:
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.” (ESV)
17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (ESV)
1 Peter 4:13
13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (ESV)
24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (ESV)
16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (ESV)
33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (ESV)
The problem is – We have an entire generation of Christians who have come up believing that you can accept Christ without forsaking the world!
I want to close today by sharing 2 burdens we Christians are all called to carry:
(1) The Burden of Personal Responsibility!
(Empowerment comes from ownership!)
Andy Stanley – “Following Jesus forces me to focus on where I am, rather than where your not!”
Galatians 6:5 (NIV) “for each one should carry their own load.”
The word for loan or burden means the biblical assignment and calling of God for you!
> We are called to carry Christ into our own personal lives and have integrity!
> We are called to carry Christ into our homes and be Christ to our families!
> We are called to carry Christ into our world and be a light in a dark place!
(2) The Burden of Christians Responsibility!
(We are called to lighten others load!)
Christians aren’t responsible for each other, but we are responsible for each other!
Galatians 6:2 (NIV) “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
(The word “Burden” speaks directly to weaknesses or failings we must help!)
Although carrying the gospel isn’t easy, I want all of us to know that it was never meant to be a crushing burden: Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
What burden are you carrying? Jesus has the power to make it light!
Need Prayer? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or text INEEDPRAYER to 797979