Wednesday mornings start off earlier than the rest of the week because our youngest has to be at band practice an hour before school starts. I wish I had a picture of him as he gets out of the car and attempts to lug his many items to the double doors. He is bundled up & weighed down by his back pack, lunchbox, band bag, trumpet case and a grocery bag holding his snow boots, snow pants & other warm necessities. Now mind you, my tall & lanky 10 year old only weighs about 65 pounds, and yet he muscles it all into school each day.
The problem lies in that red, reusable grocery bag, stuffed full of winter gear. Each week I remind him to leave it in his locker. It isn't necessary to bring it home each day. I have even suggested leaving it at home. Outside recess is rare and he only needs it if he wants to play in the snow. "Simplify your load, buddy; stay out of the snow or leave it at school." But no, he continues to heave his burden upon his back.
Ever feel like you're toting around a burden? I do.
It reminds of one of my favorite books, Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan.
At the opening of the story we find Christian setting out on his journey to the Celestial City. Upon his back, he bears a great burden. In fact, at first he fears that he will be unable to reach the city because of it's weight.
"I am afraid I shall be a very long time on the way. It is this burden, which is so heavy that it makes me walk slowly." *
I can sympathize with dear Christian, our burdens can be oh so heavy and cause us to slow in our walk with Jesus. Christian's burden represents the weight of sin in our lives. And later in the story, he comes to the cross where his burden is loosed from his back and he knows freedom. The same is true for us when we accept the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross. You know freedom through the forgiveness of sins.
So often, however; I return to the place I left my burden, heave it upon my back, and attempt to carry it once again. I can be weighed down by disappointment, worry, hurt, discontentment. It slows me down.
The other thing I notice about my son as he tries to make his way into school with his burden, is that in an effort to carry it all, he leans forward with his head down. His eyes are focused on the ground while he moves forward one step at a time.
Burdens cause us to bend from the exertion; casting our eyes downward, loosing sight of eternity & our King.
Therefore, since we have so great a
cloud of witnesses surrounding us,
let us lay aside every burden and
the sin which so easily entangles us.
Let us run with endurance
the race set before us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus,
the Author & Finisher of our faith,
who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross,
despising the shame, has sat down at the
right hand of the throne of God.
We can be much like my son, carrying around a red reusable bag heaped high with all the things we think we are going to need. We want to hold our discouragement close, wear our disappointment, and let fear clothe us. But all it ends up doing is dragging us down. Dear Christian, you were not created to make this journey with a burden upon you back. Lay it down. Look up. Fix your eyes on Jesus.
So That God gets the glory and you may run with endurance.
*Talyor, Helen L. Little Pilgrims Progress, From John Bunyan's Classic. Chicago, 2006