Jesus makes light the burdens of trouble. Put your shoulder to the plow Jesus offers and get so much help it feels like you don’t have a yoke on at all. “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 God’s Word).

Not only does Jesus care, but faithful followers also care. So part of the advantage Creator has in drawing spiritual people into a worshipping group is to “carry one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2).

Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees

Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus had a problem with religious people. To understand this remember that scribes were experts in the law. In our culture they might teach in seminary, work at denominational head office as experts in Canon Law or the Manual. They would be the people today who might teach the Bethel Series or an Alpha course. Pastors could fall into this category, too.

Pharisees were lay people. They would be like deacons or elders in a congregation who defend the traditions of their group and keep people in line. They sacrifice much to be leaders, but they also relish being in the spotlight and having people acknowledge their work in public, proud when they get a community award and that sort of thing.

Now, not all such people are religious. Some are spiritual. In the days Jesus lived on earth scribes and Pharisees numbered among the disciples.

But as a rule (pun intended) such people opposed Jesus. “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees teach with Moses’ authority. So be careful to do everything they tell you. But don’t follow their example, because they don’t practice what they preach. They make loads that are hard to carry and lay them on the shoulders of the people. However, they are not willing to lift a finger to move them’ ” (Matthew 23:1-4 [// Luke 11:46] God’s Word)

Take note, then, of what God had Paul write, “Brothers and sisters, if a person gets trapped by wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should help that person turn away from doing wrong. Do it in a gentle way. At the same time watch yourself so that you also are not tempted. Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings. So if any one of you thinks you’re important when you’re really not, you’re only fooling yourself. Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility” (Galatians 6:1-5 God’s Word).

This how you know if you live spiritually: if someone is crushed by their heavy burden you raise them up. A religious person kicks them when they are down (“You deserved that”, “If you had enough faith you wouldn’t have trouble”, “I have more important things to do, like a committee meeting…”)

Live spiritually. Jesus did.