By Josh Kerby
I love climbing mountains. I also love taking groups up mountains. The summit is such a beautiful and great place, but they are always a difficult place to reach. They are even harder when I tell the kids to put a rock in their pack. Some people think I do this to slow them down so I can keep up with them, but this isn’t why I do it. I think everyone would agree that these rocks are an unnecessary burden that they are carrying. Well, it is an unnecessary burden when trying to reach the summit, but it is entirely necessary for what I want to teach the group.
Now you’re probably thinking, “How in the world did you get a group to willingly carry rocks up a mountain,” let me explain. After we have hiked about a quarter mile and I start seeing a good variety of rocks, I stop the group and gather them around. I ask the group if they have a burden in their life, something that may be weighing them down. Most everyone will raise their hand. I then ask them to find a rock that represents that burden. As they gather around with their rocks, I tell them to put it in their packs, and they can’t trade them out for smaller one. I mostly get strange looks, and I think it’s at this point that most of the kids don’t want to talk to me. After all the rocks are in the packs, we continue to hike.
Once we reach the summit, or where we have to turn around, I ask them to pull out their burden rocks. I ask them if they felt like these rocks held them back or weighed on their shoulders. Everyone usually raises their hands or gives a little input. I then ask if they think the burdens their life are holding them back. Again, everyone usually says they are. I tell them to lay their rocks down in a pile, but as they do it, I tell them to also surrender the burdens in their life over to Christ. Christ wants us to surrender our burdens to him. He wants to help us, but we have to ask.
When I was going through some difficult moments in my life, I pushed those burdens down and put on a fake smile. I was doing the exact opposite of what I told the kids to do. I continued to carry the burden by myself. My pride didn’t want me to ask for help. I eventually broke down from the weight on my shoulders and told some people. They came to my side and helped me through it. I think the harder part was laying it down before Christ. I don’t know why… He already knew I was struggling and wanted to help. When I did lay down my burden at the foot of the cross, I felt the weight lifted off my shoulders. I could breathe again.
Christ says in Matthew 11, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He wants us to come to Him. He wants to take your burden and give you rest, but we have to approach Him first. He does this so we can work past our pride and humble ourselves before Him. Our pride alone can’t hold up the weight of this world. Do you have a burden in your life? Is it weighing you down and holding you back? Ask Christ to take that burden from you. Lay it down at the foot of the cross. Also, ask your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to help you through your burdens. Don’t let your pride prevent you from the life Christ wants you to live, a life with nothing holding you back.
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