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Categorized | From the Pulpit

What weighs you down?

Pastor Inge Whittemore

East Nelson Church 

9024 18 Mile Rd – Cedar Springs MI 49319

Drive-In worship this summer, Sundays at 9:30am.

Back in the day when I was a camp counselor for high school teens, we would have a time of teaching each morning. One sunny day as we sat near the lakeshore, a skit was enacted by a few of them.  It depicted them trying to enjoy life while each carried two heavy suitcases and a backpack. They were invited to play baseball but running to first base was quite the challenge! No one wanted to hit a homer because they couldn’t muster the energy to make it all the way around the bases. They carried too much weight.

This was really about how life with burdens can truly cancel joy. The youth immediately caught on and soon they were talking about their burdens, the things that weighed them down. Mostly what they talked about was worries. They worried about grades and friendships, body image issues and trying to please their parents. Their worries were weighing them down.  

One thing I remind myself is, “Worrying doesn’t fix tomorrow; it takes away the joy of today.” It certainly is something to pray about on a daily basis! 

The truth also is that when Jesus died for us, he set us free from from another big burden. He removed our burden of sin. It’s another way to interpret the skit the youth enacted that summer morning. The suitcases and backpacks could also have been filled with the guilt of our sins. We’ve been set free from the burden of sin, yet so often we choose to continue to carry them.

Friends, it is in Christ that you ARE set freed from the burden of your sin!

Jesus did not say “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will add more weight to your backpack.” No way!  Jesus said “come to me and I will give you rest.”

We have been absolutely set freed from the burden of sin. Jesus died and is risen. Jesus conquered death. Jesus paid the price for our sins.

Don’t you think we should then start living like that? We are free!

Paul writes to the Galatians saying, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1 NIV). He’s saying don’t be enslaved to the law. There were those who were saying that Jesus’ death and resurrection was not enough and that in order to be right with God the old laws were still needed in order to be saved. What? Jesus not enough? I have to say, living with the law and circumcision is certainly no freedom.  

I praise God for my life in Jesus! I thank God for giving his son for us. I love Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of this most important scripture.This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him (John 3:16-18 MSG).

Stand firm in the knowledge that you are free. Don’t let those old burdens creep back in. Let go of your suitcases and backpacks filled with regret and worry and lift your free hands to heaven and shout to the Lord: “I am free! Thank you, God!”

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