Also known as Wisdom, Part 1: Taking Your Stuff to God.
Sometimes we try to do life on our own, to fight our own battles, often without realising it. We gather up thoughts, ideas and fears and try to sort them out in our minds. We try to find solutions to make things work out or we try to distract ourselves with pastimes that only put a plaster on the problem that’s still there. Often, I find myself harvesting fruit or veggies without a trug or a bucket to put them in.
I start picking things, thinking I’ll just get a few. Ha. I end up piling produce into the bottom of my shirt while I hold the edge up so things don’t fall out. Although inevitably some will. Some veggies will poke me with their stalks or prickles, tomatoes will get squished and roly-poly apples will uncontrollably bounce out and get bruised.
If we try to do life on our own we end up spilling out emotions and bad behaviour onto other people and onto ourselves. We can’t hold all that stuff by ourselves. We can’t fix everything and neither can we sit on the couch trying to ignore problems. We need to give everything over to God. We need to walk up to him and tip out the produce from our shirts at his feet and say, “Here, God, please deal with this.” He will not think any battle is too small for his attention. He will not be too busy. He will not shut the door in our faces. God will pick up every piece of produce we were trying to carry, and with a smile. He will deal with ALL of it. And what happens to us? We will no longer be burdened by an awkward pile of vegetables or fruit held against our bodies. We will have both hands free to do whatever we need to do. We will be able to run and climb or sit down and rest.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah – Psalm 68:19 (Selah means pause.)
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:6-7
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. – Psalm 55:22
Our response to God is more important than what we think or how we feel about the things we’re facing. It’s great to talk to God about our thoughts, emotions and decisions we’re facing. But to take it even further, God tells us to ‘cast’ our burdens on him. Cast means “to throw or hurl; fling” or “to throw off or away” (dictionary.com).
We need to actually throw our burdens, fears and decision-making processes on God. It isn’t disrespectful to throw our burdens on God. It’s not like a monkey flinging its poop at someone, it’s like throwing a rope from your boat to someone standing on the wharf so they can pull you in and secure you. When we throw a rope to God he pulls us in, secures us and stops us from floating around aimlessly in the water. It’s actually a blessing to God when we throw our stuff at his feet because in doing so we acknowledge his sovereignty. “Here, God. You deal with this because you know how to deal with it far better than I do.” And we can’t for a second think that burdens are just bad things. Good things can become burdens too when we try to carry them alone.
This is not a one-time event. The Husband often laughs at me as I awkwardly carry produce around the garden and says, “Why didn’t you get the trug first?” I try to retort with excuses, but really, that is an excellent question. There are a few reasons:
- Circumstance – I’m just out there and there are things that need to be picked because they’re ready.
- Superiority complex – I was only intending to pick a few things so I decided I didn’t need the trug.
- Apathy – I couldn’t be bothered to walk the short distance to get the trug.
The trug is like God’s wisdom. In life we will have ‘produce’, both good and bad, to deal with over and over again. We can choose to go and get God’s wisdom to deal with it, and so not overburden ourselves, or we can awkwardly try to carry things until they spill out and hurt people. We still have to keep taking the produce to God, but with God’s wisdom we will carry it to him faster and without unnecessary casualties. Unless we try to top God’s wisdom with our own wisdom and overfill that trug…
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. – Proverbs 21:2
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. – Proverbs 9:10
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. – James 1:5-6
It isn’t just about, “Oh, how pleasant to skip through the fields and gather all the produce to take to God.” There’s also a warning. There is always a warning from God about what happens if we don’t choose his ways. He balances grace with truth. If we ask God for wisdom he will let us know, in his time, what to do and what not to do.
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. – Proverbs 3:7
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” – Proverbs 1:31-33
God also tells us to share our burdens with others, which is a two-way street: confiding in others and encouraging others to confide in us. This doesn’t mean we share all our problems with anyone who will listen, but neither does it mean we deal with things alone or wait until something blows up into a big problem before sharing it with someone or some people in our circle of trust. Show someone you trust what you’re holding in your trug, or trying to carry in the bottom of your shirt. Be willing to let them show you what they’re carrying too. We all know the saying ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’. People can’t solve our problems by themselves and we can’t solve other people’s problems by ourselves. God is the supreme problem solver. But we can help each other by giving outside perspective, sharing our experiences, pointing out God’s wisdom, praying and simply listening. We are to share one another’s burdens, not be burdened with one another’s burdens. We still have to carry our produce to God.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. – Galatians 6:2-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
- What’s your produce-carrying like? (How are you carrying the stuff of life?) Have you been:
- Caught out on your own by circumstances?
- Caught up in your own superiority of thought or desire for control?
- Caught napping instead of dealing with things?
- Going to get the trug of God’s wisdom to carry things?
- What stuff do you need to let go of and throw at God’s feet right now?
- Who is in your circle of trust that you can share thoughts, fears, decision-making processes and troubles with?
- How good have you been at sharing your burdens with them?
- How good have you been at encouraging them to share their burdens with you?
- What could you do to improve in these areas to develop more accountability?
All Bible verses are from the ESV (English Standard Version), 2016.