Share The Load

Friday, June 11, 2021
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Galatians 6:2 – Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (NIV)

With more than 2,000 miles to walk, he chose carefully what to put in his backpack.

World War II was over, and Earl Shaffer needed to walk it out of his system. He chose the Appalachian (or Government) Trail to do so. At the time, the trail began at Oglethorpe, Georgia, USA, and extended to Mount Katahdin, Maine. Since most of the men had been away fighting in the war, the trail had fallen into disrepair, making the journey more challenging.

Earl's motto was, "Carry as little as possible but choose that little with care." And he did. He carried a survival tent, poncho, rain hat, knife, axe, sewing kit, snake-bite kit, cook kit, clothing, and a week's worth of food. Even though he chose the bare minimum to put in his pack, he still felt loaded down.

Because of Earl's training and determination — and because he chose with care what he carried — he became the first person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.

I've done a little backpacking myself, and I know how important it is to choose my load with care. My first extended backpacking trip with my daughter revealed that I hadn't learned Earl's wisdom. My pack weighed in at fifty pounds and my daughter's at thirty-five. Though we had fun, we also experienced misery because of unnecessary weight. Our loads slowed us down and gave us a backache.

What Paul states in today's verse makes common sense. Any burden shared is lighter. Jesus said that the load of obeying Him was easy, so if following Him is causing me misery, I must be doing something wrong.

Burdens are cumbersome when I carry the wrong things in my life's pack. They might include bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, immorality, depression, frustration, hurt, or lies. When I carry unhealthy emotions, actions, or relationships, my soul aches, and no one wants to help me bear them.

My helping others and their helping me also makes the load lighter. Many people helped Earl along the way, making his journey more bearable. People took him to get food and supplies. People gave him a place to stay out of the inclement mountain weather. Giving others permission to hold me accountable, helping others to bear their life loads, and depending on God for strength are all vital.

Don't try to do life alone. Share the load.

Prayer: Father, motivate us to carry each other's loads, and most of all, to depend on You for strength to do so. Amen.

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About the author:

Martin Wiles <>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen Martin.

    Enjoyed your devotional. May God also bless you.

    Thank you for this devotional today. I needed it.

    Thank you, Martin, for sharing this encouraging and uplifting devotional with us. and Blessings.

    Good morning Martin
    This was a good one, thank you.
    God bless.

    Thank you, Martin; today’s devotion spoke to me in tons.
    Thanks for this encouraging to a better faithful life.

    Thanks for the writing. May we all avoid the extra burdens and ask God to carry what we need to.

    Thanks for this wisdom!
    Much needed in this time of daily challenges, when it can seem practical to assume another’s burden. Appreciate this cautionary tale,
    (BC Canada)

    Wow, I love your column today! What great food for thought. We hike (my daughter and I) and just had an experience this past weekend when we tried to do a hike through a 58 kms section of the Bruce Trail in Ontario, Canada.
    I love your reflection.
    Thank you for your thoughts!

    Thank you for this wonderful devotional.
    Having depression, I found it difficult to read that you included it in the list. Depression is not something you choose, rather it’s a medical condition.
    The Lord has helped me accept my medical condition, get the help I need, and get also through the darkest of times.
    God bless.

    Greetings Martin,
    Many thanks for another of your most meaningful devotionals. Yes, when we reach out to help others with the burdens they carry, their load is lightened as well as our own hearts. We feel good when we do the work the Lord wants us to do. Following His word and His guidance gives us a lift and a feeling of joy.
    Blessings for these writings you do.

    Thank you for the reminder Martin.
    God used this verse to tell me to say YES to my best friend’s marriage proposal . Odd. But as it turned out through many years of pastoral ministry God showed how appropriate His Word was and is even today as a widow . God knows, He loves, He cares. Nothing this truth can dim. He always gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him.
    Thank you for the fresh prompt.

    I appreciated your reminder to “share the load”. The image of a load on the back reminded me of a documentary I watched last week about a fellow who takes groups on wilderness trips by horseback. An interesting part of the film showed how he trained his own crew on how to wrap and tie up the packs for the mules. He stressed that much care must be taken to make sure the load is right for the mule and is balanced, or you could kill a mule! Having a balanced load is important for us too. We can be overloaded (work vs family) and lopsidedness will cause us and others harm.
    Thanks for the good admonition to depend on our Father’s help with burdens!

    Dear Martin,
    What a beautiful example you give to show us that life is about sharing with God and with others. This is a good reminder that we all need over and over again. Sometimes when we are brought up, we are told to be independent and to rely only on ourselves. Hopefully, we later learn that this is not true. I know that when I share something that is bothering me, just the act of doing that lessons the burden and helps me to move on. Your story is a great example of choosing with care what we carry. May you continue to share with others the lessons that you have learned with God’s help. May you help others with their load as they help you. May many blessings come your way.

    I appreciate all the devotionals on The Daily. Yours today hit home, especially the paragraph where you list the burdens we unnecessarily try to care on our own steam. Over the past couple of months, I have been struggling with hurt feelings due to not seeing any family (I am 87) due to this Covid-19 crisis. This was even happening prior to Covid-19 and is worse now. My family are a busy working family and in jobs where they must meet with the public, so I understand that part, but the hurting comes in when I find they have had others around and gone places and poor old Mom and Grandma does not get included. I try hard to keep the hurt feelings in control, but oh my it is difficult some days.
    Thank you for reminding me to leave these feelings with our Heavenly Father. He knows how to carry the load better than any of us. God Bless You on this day and always.

    Good morning Martin,
    Good words. I am carrying some heavy loads at the moment and your words spoke to my heart.

    Dear Martin,
    I have been receiving the daily devotional for many years.
    I was so impressed with your latest Daily Devotional, I forwarded to the vicar and asked if we should publish in our monthly church newsletter to which she has agreed.
    I trust this finds you well and keep up the good work.

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