Carrying Each Other's Burdens
Mr. Alter's fifth-grade class at Lake Elementary School in Oceanside, California, included fourteen boys who had no hair. Only one, however, had no choice in the matter. Ian O'Gorman, undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma, faced the prospect of having his hair fall out in clumps. So he had his head shaved. But then 13 of his classmates shaved their heads, so Ian wouldn't feel out of place. "If everybody has his head shaved, sometimes people don't know who's who," said 11-year-old Scott Sebelius in an Associated Press story (March 1994). "They don't know who has cancer, and who just shaved their head." Ten-year-old Kyle Hanslik started it all. He talked to some other boys, and before long they all trekked to the barber shop.
"The last thing he would want is to not fit in," said Kyle. "We just wanted to make him feel better." Ian's father, Shawn, choked back tears as he talked about what the boys had done. He said simply, "It's hard to put words to." "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).
When You Feel Life Your Knees Are About To Buckle,
Come To Christ
The climactic event at Detroit's Cobo Hall exhibition of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus was the high-wire act of the Wallenda family, or the Flying Wallendas, as they were known. They were among the greatest tightwire walkers in all of circus history. One of their acts was walking the tightrope in the formation of a fourlevel pyramid. Four or five men formed the first level, two or three men made up the second level, two more were on the third, and finally a little girl topped the pyramid. Maintaining this four-level pyramid, they would make their way across the tightrope from one side of the arena to the other. It was incredible and unprecedented. They did it night after night, month after month around the world.
One particular evening, as the show came to its conclusion, the four-level pyramid was about to start. The audience tensed in anticipation, sitting in total silence in the dark arena. The spotlights picked the Wallendas out of the air as they started moving across the wire. About two-thirds of the way across, however, one of the men on the first level, young Dede Wallenda, began to tremble in his knees. He cried out in German, I cannot hold on any longer!" With that, he crumbled, and the entire pyramid collapsed. Several of the Wallendas fell to the floor many feet below. Some were crippled for life and one died.
Have you ever felt like Dede Wallenda? The pressures of school, homework, parents, family, or friends weigh down on you until you feel like yelling, "Help! I cannot hold on any longer!" While facing those times, we need to surround ourselves with loving friends and hold on to Christ. That's what the church is all about. The church doesn't exist to put additional pressure on us, but to support us and provide us with the help we need to survive in the world.
When you feel like your knees are about to buckle, come to Christ. Come to His people, the church. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest"' (Matt. 11:28).
Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks
Wayne Rice, Zonderzan, pp. 96-97.
When People Are In Trouble, We Need To Help
Once, a thoughtless pilot got into an ill-equipped single-engine plane and took off. He didn't know much about how to handle the instruments--he just flew. The plane had no lights but he was flying up to a little country airstrip where he would land, he thought, before sunset. Unfortunately, he had strong winds against him and he didn't make it in time. The sun had already settled behind the western mountains and a haze was over the landing strip. Nearing the airstrip, he came down lower but he could not make out the boundaries of the runway. Panic seized him as he sensed he didn't have much fuel left. The runway was not equipped with lights, and he had no way of getting in touch with anyone. He began to circle. He realized one of those circling moments would be his last. He would crash to his death. Down on the ground, a man was sitting on his porch and his sensitive ears were bothered by the drone of the engine as he kept hearing the plane going around and around and around. And he thought, "That guy's in trouble." Quickly he sped over to the runway and began to drive up and down the runway with his lights on bright, up and down, showing that young, inexperienced, pilot how to find his way. The pilot turned. With a great breath of relief he began to land the plane. At the end of the runway the driver turned around and flashed his lights on the high beam and sat there, as if to say, "This is the end of the runway, and there are the lights." That pilot came right in and landed safely. A near tragedy was averted by sensitivity to need.
When people are in trouble, we need to sense their needs and be willing to help them.
The Tale Of The Tardy Oxcart
Charles R. Swindoll, Word, pp. 511-512.