I’ve never been in combat nor have I ever trained to be in combat, but I know good people who have given body and mind to training and serving. They have told me that when one of your fellow soldiers goes down, you lean down, pick them up, throw them over your shoulder, and get them to safety and help if at all possible.
This is not a situation we are well-trained for in civilian life. In fact, more often than not, we walk by those in the most dire need holding our appointments or our assumptions that the person in need got himself or herself into the position in the first place as more important than serving another member of the human race.
I didn’t anticipate that being called pastor would change the way people saw me, but every day I have people who contact me asking for help. They ask for prayer. They ask for financial help. They ask for perspective. They ask for insight. They ask for hope that there is another human being who can see them.
And almost as often, I meet with friends who are ministers who are carrying not one fallen soldier, but five or ten or twenty-five. You can see it in their eyes and in their shoulders and in their walk that has slowed down from the weight of carrying another’s burdens. It’s something we, as ministers, train for in seminary, but the pure weight of the number of people who are in need and the time and energy to truly care for a person has increased as humanity has become more divisive and more concerned with selfies than with relating and interacting with those who breath the same air.
If asked, I am not sure anyone, a person of faith or a not, would volunteer to carry another person’s burdens, but if we don’t start carrying one another and leave it to those who are paid to care, then we soon won’t have enough ministers to care for all the need.
Slow down. Take the time to see the people around you and it won’t take long before you see the great need that surrounds you.