Jim Rademaker passed along this quotation from Luther from the collection Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (June 20). It’s a meditation on Galatians 6:2: “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” It relates to the purpose of every vocation, to love and serve one’s neighbor, which entails bearing other people’s burdens:
EVERYWHERE LOVE TURNS it finds burdens to carry and ways to help. Love is the teaching of Christ. To love means to wish another person good from the heart. It means to seek what is best for the other person. What if there were no one who made a mistake? What if no one fell? What if no one needed someone to help him to whom would you show love? To whom could you show favor? Whose best could you seek? Love would not be able to exist if there were no people who made mistakes and sinned. The philosophers say that each of these people is the appropriate and adequate “object” of love or the “material” with which love has to work.
The corrupt nature – or the kind of love that is really lust – wants others to wish it well and to give it what it desires. In other words, it seeks its own interests. The “material” it works with is a righteous, holy, godly, and good person. People who follow this corrupt nature completely reverse God’s teaching. They want others to bear their burdens, serve them, and carry them. These are the kind of people who despise having uneducated, useless, angry, foolish, troublesome, and gloomy people as their life companions. Instead, they look for friendly, charming, good-natured, quiet, and holy people. They don’t want to live on earth but in paradise, not among sinners but among angels, not in the world but in heaven. We should feel sorry for these people because they are receiving their reward here on earth and possessing their heaven in this life.
This is priceless. We are quite willing to love “friendly, charming, good-natured, quiet, and holy people.” But we are called to love “uneducated, useless, angry, foolish, troublesome, and gloomy people.” That is, people with burdens.