How Many Burdens Should We Bear?


Ever have trouble setting boundaries as to how many burdens you take on? Do you have difficulty saying that little word, "No." I do, which is why I was so blessed by what I read recently in a book entitled Boundaries. I'd like to share a small part of the second chapter with you. It was a real eye-opener for me!

We are responsible to others and for ourselves. "Carry each other's burdens," says Galatians 6:2, "and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." This verse shows our responsibility to one another.

Many times others have "burdens" that are too big to bear. They do not have enough strength, resources, or knowledge to carry the load, and they need help. Denying ourselves to do for others what they cannot do for themselves is showing the sacrificial love of Christ. . .

On the other hand, verse 5 says that "each one should carry his own load." Everyone has responsibilities that only he or she can carry. These things are our own particular "load" that we need to take daily responsibility for and work out. . .


The Greek words for "burden" and "load" give us insight into the meaning of these texts. The Greek word for "burden" means "excess burdens," or burdens that are so heavy that they weigh us down. These burdens are like boulders. They can crush us. We shouldn't be expected to carry a boulder by ourselves. . . We need help with the boulders. . .


In contrast, the Greek word for "load" means "cargo," or "the burden of daily toil." This word describes the everyday things we all need to do. These loads are like knapsacks. Knapsacks are possible to carry. We are expected to carry our own. . .


Problems arise when people act as if their "boulders" are daily loads, and refuse help, or as if their "daily loads" are boulders they shouldn't have to carry. The results of these two instances are either perpetual pain or irresponsibility.


-Excerpt from Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend