2. The burden of pretense. The second burden Tozer writes about is the burden of pretense—of pretending to be something we are not and of hiding what we truly are. The man who is moderately successful in business tries to look wildly successful. He is ashamed to be thought of only as a moderate achiever. A person of limited education pretends to be more highly educated than he is and fears to meet a thoroughly educated man. Even if he is well educated, he fears to meet a person who is better educated or to be in a position where the unfavorable comparison shows. A cultured person fears to be with those who are even more cultured. Tozer says, “Let no one smile this off. These burdens are real, and little by little they kill the victims of this evil and unnatural way of life.”2
A third incident came before the triumphal entry. On this occasion the mother of James and John came to Jesus asking if her sons could sit on the right and left sides of Jesus when He came in His kingdom. The other disciples heard about it and got angry with James and John. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:25-28; cf. Mark 10:42-45).
Brother Lawrence, whose collected conversations and letters are entitled The Practice of the Presence of God, lived in the seventeenth century. He was born Nicholas Herman in French Lorraine, served as a soldier, and then was converted through seeing a tree in winter, stripped of its leaves, and reflecting on the fact that within a short time its leaves would be renewed through the love, providence, and power of God. His conversion led him to enter the monastery of the barefooted Carmelites at Paris in 1666. In the monastery Lawrence, as he was then called, was assigned to the kitchen where he had charge of utensils. At first he abhorred the work. But he set himself so to walk in God’s presence that he could worship God and serve others in the most humble circumstances.
We now come to the last way we are to serve other people as Jesus did.
6. We must restore one another. Speaking the truth in love, which includes the exposure of sin and the pronouncement of forgiveness for the one who repents of it and turns to Christ, has as its object the complete restoration of the other person. In aiding in this we perform what is perhaps our greatest form of service. Here we get closest to what Christ’s example of foot washing was all about.
Yesterday we looked at the need to help one another and to give to others in need. Today we consider what it is to bear another’s burden, and also see the importance of speaking God’s truth to others.
4. We must bear one another’s burdens. The Bible is able to express the whole work of Christ for us as bearing our burdens: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isa. 53:4, KJV). So it is not surprising that it can describe the whole of the Christian life as bearing the cross and admonish us to “carry each other’s burdens,” saying, “and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).
The Alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars, and churchmen who hold the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today's Church.