Faith – “Take a Load Off, My Friend!”

By Pastor Ron Buxton

The story is told of a man that was hitch-hiking along a lonely country road. This was farm country, and this man had just finished working all week as a hired laborer. And so, he was only thinking about going home for the weekend, but unfortunately, home meant hitch-hiking. In his hand was a scribbled sign requesting a ride to the destination that he wanted to get home to. But hours passed as that stretch of country road kept getting lonelier and lonelier–not to mention the weight of the large and heavy sack of potatoes that he was shouldering.

     Finally, a pick-up truck could be heard approaching from behind him. And fortunately, even more so, the driver pulled slowly over to the roadside to pick him up.This was his lucky day! With a nod of the head and a gesture of the hand, the driver motioned for him to climb into the back of the truck, and off they went. Curiously, the driver kept looking back at his passenger sitting in the truck bed. The passenger still held that heavy and large sack of potatoes upon his shoulders! Minutes passed, and the driver kept looking back. Sure enough, the man continued to hold that heavy sack of potatoes high upon his shoulders! Finally, the driver couldn’t take it any longer. He yelled out the back window: “Hey!…Why don’t you put that heavy sack of potatoes down unto the truck bed?!?”

     There was a long pause, as the passenger looked at him, surprised by the question. In fact, he struggled to find the words to answer him. “Well”, the man replied, “I thought that the combined weight of me and these potatoes was too heavy for this vehicle, so I decided that I needed to keep carrying them!”

     Folks, that’s a funny illustration, but how many people are carrying around burdens that they simply cannot manage. Life is like that. Sure, we allow people to “pick us up” along life’s highways and bring us to where we think we need to go. And for many folks, religion, in general, is like that. We “hitch a ride” under the guise of placating some existential, but vaguely-defined, need. Needless to say, we still shoulder the burden of living in a fallen world where the broken pieces of our own lives get stuffed into emotional (and even spiritual) “duffle bags”. And while the road of life gets longer, the burden seems to get heavier and heavier.

     Allow me to speak to you directly, if you identify with this analogy. That “duffle bag” will never get smaller nor lighter. You see, life tends to accumulate these burdens as we go about our business. Some of the “weight” even might have been imposed upon us by others. Although, if the truth be told, we own (and even enjoy) most of what got stuffed into the ever-growing bundle upon our shoulders. But as I said before, the load will never get smaller, and certainly will never get lighter.

An ancient Jewish prophet spoke of the coming Messiah with these words: “Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:4) In fact, the One, for whom this prophecy foretold, pronounced the following very comforting words seven hundred years later: “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28). The cross of Jesus—which essentially was the total weight of the combined “duffle bags” of all of humanity’s sin–was carried upon His shoulders. The choice is yours. Are you willing to give to Jesus the load that has been weighing you down for some time now? Don’t be like the foolish man in the illustration written above. Take a load off, my friend!


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