A late summer seaside music festival. Taking a break from the wind, the sun and the mass of people under a tent at the music stage, through scattered chairs, sand covered blankets and empty beer cans, we found a few spots on a lone set of bleachers. The day had been pleasant, walking hand in hand with my sweet bride, beside building of sand castles, bright red sunburns and a few dancing off the effects of too many adult beverages.
A cool ocean breeze was a nice backdrop for an afternoon of music and revelry. During a pause, while roadies scurried to switch instruments and beach-goers hurried to refill coolers, I reflected on the day and the troubled sleep of the night previous. Difficult dreams and worries of loved ones in need provided little rest to a weary soul.
In the midst of the cacophony, a woman approached to climb the bleacher saying, “I may need your shoulder to lean on.” My response? “That’s why it’s there.” No self-respecting country boy would offer less. The thought reverberated deeply as I have been weak and weary as of late, but still of some use even if just a handrail to steady another. Though my questionable strength may seem less than optimal, it is still useable to those in need.
Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 – NIV
The shoulder, as the joint between the neck and arm, is useful in carrying heavy objects, employing a body full of bone and muscle to disperse the weight and has proven a means of transporting lumber and a few too many bags of livestock feed. Some shoulders are appropriately placed to rest one’s head while being held by another and have been known to dry a few tears, yet when I find the burdens are a bit much, the Love of Jesus is there to shore up these aching bones.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
The “yoke” of Christ, though not always easy, is light and helps to shoulder burdens of others as well as our own. When I pray, “Lord, I need Your shoulder to lean on,” Jesus’ response is always, “That’s what it is here for. My Love for you would never offer less.”