In the last two posts, we’ve been discussing the power of the team. We’ve looked at how we’re meant to encourage one another, and to challenge one another in the area of love and good deeds.
We’re also meant to help one another.
Paul gives this word in Galatians 6:2: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. In that context he was talking about what happens when you find a friend who is struggling with sin. But throughout the Bible we’re meant to care for one another, to love one another, and to help one another.
Helping one another is what it means to be the Church. We think of others before ourselves, and we sacrifice in order to help our brothers or sisters in need. Particularly, those who are invested and involved in the ministries and relationships within the church do this for each other in the most beautiful ways. They become profound paracletes for one another.
Recently, I was reading the story of Larry Lemieux who was competing in the 1998 Olympic Games in Seoul. Larry competed in sailing in the Finn class as a part of the Canadian team—an individual sailing competition. He was in second place after the fourth of five races and was likely to win the silver after training for years. But as he was racing towards the finish line he saw a boat in the 470 class, in a race in a different event, capsize with its two sailors, from Singapore, in the water injured. Lemiux broke away from his race, sailed over to rescue them. He waited with the men until he could transfer them to a patrol boat and then completed his race, coming in 22nd in the race and ending any chance he had for a medal.
After the race, the International Yacht Racing Union announced that he should be awarded an honorary silver medal. The Olympic Committee agreed and awarded him a medal for embodying the Olympic ideal by his sportsmanship, self-sacrifice, and courage.
It’s interesting that few people could name the gold medalist in the Finn Class of the 1988 Olympic Games today. But here we are, 24 years later still talking about Larry Lemieux, not for the championships he won, but for how he forgot about himself and gave up the medal, in order to bear someone else’s burden. And in so doing—whether he knew it or not—he was fulfilling the law of Christ.
These are heroic moments, and I hope that we all would have done the same. But most of the time bearing one another’s burdens doesn’t look like giving up the Olympic gold. It looks more like signing up to take meals to someone who is sick, or writing positive and encouraging notes to those who are hurting.
Consider these specific questions:
- Are you a part of a team? I believe you should have at least twelve other people from your church connected to your life. You should know them by name, serve, and grow with them.
- Are you a son or daughter of encouragement – a paraklete for others? Make it your daily task to encourage others.
- Are you giving yourself to bear one another’s burdens? Someday you’ll need it, but you’re most likely to receive it when you’ve regularly been bearing the burdens of others.
To be a Christian is to be connected with others—to be in relationship. Jesus did not simply call us to love God, but also to love our neighbor. He started a church to be a place where believers would encourage one another, provoke one another and challenge one another to good deeds, and where we would bear one another’s burdens. That’s what it means to be a part of a team.
You may be interested in listening to my current sermon series, The Games: Faster, Higher, Stronger.
photo credit: MorgueFile.com