Portage

25 Mar

portageThis morning I was studying Matthew 11: 28-30 for an upcoming Bible study and then I sat down to read Orphan Train for a few moments before school. I couldn’t believe how this quote from the front of Orphan Train matched with what I’d been studying:

In portages from one river to another, Wabanakis had to carry their canoes and all other possessions.  Everyone knew the value of traveling light and understood that it required leaving some things behind.  Nothing encumbered movement more than fear, which was often the most difficult burden to surrender.  -Bunny McBride, Women of the Dream

We carry so many burdens that are unnecessary.  And because of that we’re tired so much of the time. Down deep tired. Just reading Matthew 11:28-30 makes me sigh with relief.

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and[e]recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, [f]good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

Vine’s dictionary defines burden as “the obligations Christ lays upon his followers, and styles a “burden” by way of the contrast to the precepts of the Pharisees, the observance of which was most oppressive.”

Sometimes others have such huge expectations of us and we carry burdens placed on us by others. Sometimes we are our own worst Pharisees and carry burdens not meant for us to carry, but which are meant for Jesus to carry. I need to stop and ask myself every once in a while, “Why am I carrying this/doing this/feeling this?  Is it because Jesus wants me to?”  If the answer is no, that burden needs to be tossed out of the canoe.

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