God makes burdens light
Anyone feeling burdened by too much to do, by limited capacities or time, or by personal responsibility for some good might find healing in these words: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;… For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30). These words are from Christ Jesus, who accomplished an extraordinary amount in his three years of teaching and healing. How did he do it? What made his burden light? And can we experience the same freedom when tasked with heavy responsibilities?
The best clue to Jesus’ unburdened accomplishments is found in the Gospel of John, where he says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” He further confirmed that statement when he said, “I can of mine own self do nothing” (5:19, 30). What an inspiration and encouragement to his followers—both then and now! This says to me that God’s sons and daughters reflect what God is doing. The success of everything we do depends entirely on our obedience to God.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, uncovers the burdening effects of the opposite attitude when she writes, “Mortals are egotists. They believe themselves to be independent workers, personal authors, and even privileged originators of something which Deity would not or could not create” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 263).
Pride in the ability to organize and carry out complicated assignments may insist that we are independent workers or personal authors. But the other side of that coin is the burden of believing ourselves personally responsible for our success in challenging situations.
We can experience freedom when tasked with heavy responsibilities.
Jesus’ example illustrates the necessity of a humble willingness to let go of a sense of personal responsibility and prideful accomplishment. Accepting this requirement is not only a burden-lifter, it is also comforting, because it enables us to realize and rejoice in the great fact that there is actually only one infinite, indivisible, all-loving Ego—God. And God, “the great I am” (Science and Health, p. 587), constantly loves, supports, inspires, and guides His creation. Therefore, the man of God’s creating (the true identity of everyone) cannot act independently of divine Love, but coexists with God. This spiritual man can never fail, but always reflects the excellent action of divine Love.
Understanding this, we cannot be made to believe that we could ever be “independent workers, personal authors, and even privileged originators” of anything. Aggressive suggestions that we are separate from God have no credibility for or power over us when we know that God—the one, all-knowing, all-loving Mind—is alone the source of man’s intelligence and action.
This was proven in my experience as a young mother expecting our second child within a few weeks. My husband had traveled halfway across the country to accept a new job. I was to sell our house, pack up everything, and relocate our household, while lovingly caring for our two-year-old son. I felt totally incapable of exercising the physical strength and ability to accomplish what seemed formidable tasks in a short period of time, and being a student of Christian Science, I prayed tearfully but fervently for guidance and strength. Just then I happened to look up to see my little son staring intently at me. A minute later he walked with slow, measured steps over to a table, reached up for a copy of the Sentinel, and gently laid it in my lap. What a shining light that was! I saw it as a Love-impelled indication of answered prayer.
God’s man can never fail, but reflects the excellence of divine Love.
Wiping away the tears of self-pity, I began reading the articles, and bit by bit my anxiety lessened. I gratefully realized that God, divine Love, was present right then—that I was not alone, and that God’s fathering and mothering was uninterruptedly caring for me and my little son. The sense of burden related to organizing and accomplishing the necessary tasks began to melt away. About an hour later a woman I barely knew called and offered to help. Within a week, the packing and all the other tasks were completed. And the subsequent move was harmonious.
The idea that man is not an independent worker has also brought increased harmony and success to my work as a volunteer facilitator of educational programming at a senior center. At first my motive was simply to please the attendees. But then I saw the need to reflect and express more of God’s love in my daily interactions with family and friends, and to examine my motives in facilitating the classes. In proportion to that purification of thought the whole situation was transformed. I recognized that I am not an independent worker/facilitator because God is forever communicating to His children in a nonaccusing, comprehensive, and caring way, and this realization resulted in the abatement of personal sense, egotism, and false responsibility. Enriched contacts with program attendees, as well as livelier learning sessions and stimulating class discussions, have followed.
These words from a much-cherished and comforting hymn confirm these truths and echo Jesus’ promise of burdens made light:
Not what I am, O Lord, but what Thou art;
That, that alone can be my soul’s true rest;
Thy love, not mine, bids fear and doubt depart,
And stills the tumult of my troubled breast.
(Horatius Bonar, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 195)