The Easy Burden
From Heart of Dr. Rexella Van Impe
In addition to our normal activities and responsibilities, every hour is filled with reading, praying, studying, writing, planning... working on our weekly telecasts, and the in-depth teaching videos we produce!
Don't think I'm complaining -- I've never been so excited and thrilled. There are so many tremendous opportunities before us that I can hardly wait for morning to come... and sometimes I'm reluctant to turn off the lights at bedtime.
The other day someone said to me, "Rexella, don't overdo it. You've got so many responsibilities -- it's really a tremendous burden!"
I appreciated the concern of this friend, who had only my best interests at heart. But although I'm working harder than I have in all my life before, I am not overloaded and burdened down!
I have discovered the secret of the easy burden.
The lesson of the ant
After a while the ant came to a large crack in the earth. He explored to the left and the right, but there was no way to go around -- and the crack was too wide and too deep to get across.
The ant stood there on the brink of the precipice as though pondering the situation. Then, he took the burdensome straw off his back. Stumbling, tumbling, and straining, somehow he managed to put one end of the straw on one side of the crack and let it fall across the span! Then the ant walked across the straw safely to the other side.
With a few tugs and strains, he pulled the straw across the crack, put it back on his back... and went on his way again! He triumphed by using his burden as a bridge to the other side.
What a lesson for us!
In this life we will have burdens. The Apostle Paul noted, For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened (2 Corinthians 5:4). But we need not be unduly crushed to the ground by our load if we allow the Lord and His strength to sustain us. The psalmist cried, Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee (Psalm 55:22).
Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 1 1:28-30).
Did you notice that Jesus did not say, "Come throw down your load and walk away with no burden at all. "He only promised to give us rest. Then we are to take on His yoke and pick up His burden. And what kind of load is it?
It is a light yoke, an easy burden!
The Lord has not promised that we will not have to work in this life. There is no guarantee that we will not face difficulties and trials. Nowhere does He tell us that the road will not be long or the night not so dark.
Rather, He promises that where we go, He will go... and never will we be left alone. For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5). And He also promised, Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28 :20).
If Jesus is with us, and His burden is always light, why do we get so loaded down at times? I think it is because we pick up the burdens of the past along with tomorrow's burden and add it to the load allotted for today.
John Newton once wrote, "I compare the troubles which we have to undergo in the course of a year to a great bundle of fagots, far too large for us to lift. But God does not require us to carry the whole at once. He mercifully unties the bundle and gives us first one stick, which we are to carry today, and then another, which we are to carry tomorrow, and so on. This we might easily manage if we would only take the burden appointed for us each day. But we choose to increase our troubles by carrying yesterday's stick over again today and adding tomorrow's burden to our load before we are required to carry it."
Jesus says, "Come rest. Lay down yesterday's burden, and don't lift tomorrow's load yet. Just pick up today's burden... and it will be easy!"
And like the resourceful ant, we may discover that at times we can use our burden to bridge the chasms in the path before us. It can literally become a stepping-stone to higher ground.
A burden of joy
I heard about an American soldier during the Vietnam war who saw a little 7-year-old girl carrying a 2-year-old baby on her back. As he passed her trudging along a dusty road, the G.I. said to her, "Honey, it looks like you're carrying an awfully heavy load."
But that little child had learned part of the secret of the easy burden. She replied, "Oh, no, this is no load -- this is my brother!"
And it is true -- the load of egotism and self-pity is tremendously heavy. No one can stand up under it for long! But if our burden is for others... for the lost and unreached, it can become a burden of joy.
We are reminded of Jesus, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).
For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross! What joy? The joy of seeing you and me in heaven! He carried the cross for us. He died that we might live. And now, His work completed, He is at the right hand of God.
Oh, I want to see Him! I am so homesick for heaven. And I believe it will not be long until our Saviour comes for us -- perhaps today!
Until then, I know I can carry the easy burden He has for me. And so I can truthfully say that every television program I help to host, every article I write, and every letter I answer -- the workload is not a depressing or oppressing burden. I can do it -- I'm glad to -- because of the joy that is set before me ...the joy of knowing that I am doing it for the Lord to reach souls for eternity.
Stepping-stones to higher ground
My father got up at this hour almost every day of his adult life and yet always found delight in driving to every meeting that my husband and I or my brother Bob (who also is an evangelist) might have within a 100 mile radius of my parents' home. Dad found strength in the Lord and got hold of the easy burden and made it a stepping-stone to higher ground. May you also, as mothers and fathers, find stepping-stones to higher ground.
The day will come -- and soon, so soon -- when you will stand before God and lay down your burden for the last time. What a thrill, what unspeakable joy, to hear the voice of your Father say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!"
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Jack Van Impe Ministries
Troy MI 48007