"I need someone to take this wagon with these three stones in it up to the top of the hill," God said to the man. "Are you up to it?"
"Of course," answered the man. "I'd do anything for you, Lord."
And so the man set off, pulling the wagon behind him and whistling a merry tune. His heart was so full of joy at the opportunity to do something for the Lord. Before long, he came upon a village. At the last house, a man stopped him and asked what he was doing. After explaining his mission to the man, the wagon bearer smiled and thanked the Lord for such a beautiful day in which to serve Him. The villager quickly spoke up, "What about that? You're going to the hill, and I was just praying this morning that someone would come along to take this rock of mine to the hill. Would you mind?"
"Of course not," the wagon bearer answered. "I'm sure God wouldn't mind if I help out a neighbor." He took the rock and added it to the three stones in the wagon, which was noticeably heavier, but the man didn't mind. With each village he passed, however, his load became heavier and heavier. Many people had burdens to bear, but they just didn't have the time or the means to take them to the hill themselves.
As the wagon grew heavier and harder to maneuver, the man's attitude grew bitter. He was hot and tired. His shoulders ached. He song had turned to grumbling, and his thanksgiving had turned to accusation. "This is too hard!" he shouted at God. "How am I suppose to make it up this hill? The burden is too great. I just can't do it!"
Immediately, God was there beside him. "What's the matter, my friend?"
"What's the matter?" the man complained. "You gave me a job that was too hard. I can't possibly make it up this hill. The load is far too heavy."
God walked over to the wagon and held up a small bag of pebbles. "What is this?"
"Oh," said the man, "that's from my friend, John. "He asked me to carry it for him since I was heading this way."
"What about this?" God asked as He pulled a large rock from the pile. "And this, and this, and this?" He continued as He dumped rocks of all shapes and sizes onto the hard ground.
"You said we should bear one another's burdens," the man replied defensively.
"Yes," God replied, "But I never asked you to do what others weren't willing to do for themselves. You've become so weighed down that you can't complete the job I called you to do."
The man was stunned. "You mean I only need to take these three stones?"
God smiled. "Yes, my child. That's what I asked you to do."
Happily, the man picked up his lighter load and headed up the hill, once again singing a happy song. In a short amount of time, he reached the top of the hill where he praised God for the opportunity to serve Him and to complete the task he had started.
God did tell us to bear one another's burdens, but there are some burdens He never intended for us to bear. It's easy to get weighed down and become an ineffective servant of the Lord. Have you looked at your wagon lately? Is it full of burdens that would be better off left on the roadside? Is your sense of duty and obligation weighing you down? There are needs to be met, but we can't possibly meet them all, and we become of little use to God when we try. We might better examine our lives today and make sure we're not making our work here on earth harder than it's suppose to be.
But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. - Galatians 6:4-5