A Burden Shared Is a Burden Lifted

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Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. — Galatians 6:2

As a mother, my desire has always been that my children would grow into competent, independent adults, but not at the expense of developing compassionate, caring hearts for others.

In a world that often promotes individual rights over those of the community, I want to offset that idea with the biblical message that we have a responsibility for the welfare of those around us, that we are to love God and to love our neighbors.

I saw that idea beautifully demonstrated in a small nursery school in Malawi.

Shrieks of laughter abruptly turned into quiet anticipation as 120 children in an AIDS-devastated community lined up for a bowl of hot porridge. For most of them, this was the only meal they had eaten since the previous morning, and they were hungry. Anastasia, the director of the day care center, explained that ninety of the children were orphans living in child-headed households and they would have no other opportunity to eat that day. Money was tight, and she could only afford to feed them one meal.

Anastasia wasn’t always a day care director, but when her sister died of AIDS and she took on the responsibility of caring for her niece, she decided to include the eighty-nine other children in her community who had also lost their parents to the disease. She was an excellent teacher, and once breakfast was finished, the children showed me what they had learned, reciting in unison the alphabet, numbers, even the months of the year — all in English.

In addition to the few mothers helping at the center, fifteen other local women were working in a nearby field, tending maize. Their goal was to raise enough money selling their crops so the day care center could stay open until 5:00 p.m. instead of closing at 11:30 each morning. Their earnings would also help buy enough food for the children to have a second meal during the school day. The community was pulling together to care for its most vulnerable members — the children — by bearing the burden resulting from the deaths of so many parents.

The community was living out what the apostle Paul identified as a fundamental part of the life of every believer:

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Anastasia and a handful of other women in her community took that message to heart. They assumed responsibility for the child-headed households of Senzani, Malawi, and took upon their own weary shoulders the burdens those ninety orphans otherwise would have carried alone.

As members of God’s family, the welfare of others is our concern. Is there a brother or sister whose burden you could help lift today?

—Reneé

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Your Turn

Together, we CAN end childhood hunger. This weekend in honor of World Visions 30 Hour Famine event, what are you willing to do to help our brothers and sisters worldwide? Tweet what action you’re taking using #30HR #releasethefeast to @FaithGateway! Come join the conversation on our blog! We’d love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

Renee Stearns

Reneé Stearns is a former attorney, mother of five, and grandmother of one. She is active in church ministries, leading Bible studies, and speaking at conferences and retreats. Reneé is passionate about helping others broaden their worldview to include the great needs she sees in her travels with World Vision.

Richard Stearns

Richard Stearns brought nearly 25 years of corporate experience to World Vision when he became its president in June 1998. Stearns holds a bachelor's degree form Cornell University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His professional career began in marketing with the Gillette Company. From 1977 to 1985, he held various roles with Parker Brothers Games, culminating in his appointment as president in 1984. In 1985, he became a vice president at The Franklin Mint, then joined Lenox in 1987 as president of Lenox Collections. In 1995, Stearns was named president and chief executive officer of Lenox Inc. As president of World Vision Inc., Stearns is responsible for U.S. operations, which include fund raising, advocacy, and program development. Stearns and his wife, Renee, have been World Vision supporters since 1984. The couple has five children and live in Bellevue, Washington.

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