The Easy Burden

Talk about busy! For many months Dr. Van
Impe and I have been going from early to late,
working harder than we ever have in our lives.

In addition to our normal activities and
responsibilities, every hour is filled with reading,
praying, studying, writing, planning… and
traveling! As you know, we’re often on the road in
speaking engagements, ministering day and
night. And from time to time we also meet with
many of our dear partners in various cities.
Back at home, we’re in the office, working on
our weekly telecasts, recording music, meeting
with technicians!

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

A biologist once was doing a study of ants. One
day he watched a worker ant carrying a piece of
straw. Compared to the ant’s size and weight, that
straw must have been a heavy and unwieldy load.
But the ant kept working — kept carrying his load.

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

What an exhilarating realization! And here is
another load-lifting thought. When we realize
what our burden is — or to be more exact, who our
burden is — our attitude changes.

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 suitcase I pack, every song I sing, 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

I have no way of knowing what kind of burden
you have been asked to bear. But I urge you to
catch sight of the joy set before you. If it is to be a
good mother to your children — do it with joy and
blessing. If you are a father who gets up at 5:30
a.m. to go to work and earn a living for your family
and to help support the work of God — do it with
joy and a blessing.

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!”