Your Financial Backpack: A Load or a Burden

The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and to be stretched large by them. How much sorrow can I hold? That’s how much gratitude I can give. If I carry only grief, I’ll bend toward cynicism and despair. If I have only gratitude, I’ll become saccharine and won’t develop much compassion for other people’s suffering. Grief keeps the heart fluid and soft, which helps make compassion possible.   ~ Francis Ward Weller, a well-known psychotherapist, writer, & soul activist. 

 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. (Galatians 6:2-5).

In my Stephen Ministry training, we were taught the difference between “load” and “burden.” A big part of what a Stephen Minister does is “carry another’s burden.”  Yet, verse five seems to contradict this for it reads: “for each must carry their own load.” We are to bear one another’s burdens, but each is to carry his or her own load.  So, what’s the difference? The Greek word for “burden” means “something that is exceedingly heavy and troublesome.” Stephen Leaders describe a burden as “something that can weigh a person down and crush them – like a giant boulder.” People in times of crisis carry this kind of burden when their troubles seem really overwhelming. On the other hand, the Greek word translated as “load” means “the cargo or normal daily weight that a person carries.” If you look at children waiting for school you will see many of them carrying their backpacks. Each one is able to manage their own backpack. They don’t need others to share that weight – it’s their daily cargo.

During these unpredictable financial times, many are experiencing as if their “financial boulders” are just daily loads or as if their “daily loads” are financial boulders they are struggling to carry. You have probably seen this happen and the results of these two instances are either perpetual pain from carrying too much alone or irresponsibility from expecting others to carry it all.

We are not asking any one person to carry all the financial burden of the church or asking those who are struggling to add more financial pain to their lives. We are asking those who are managing their own financial backpack to share the weight of those who can’t. The Finance Committee met and agreed along with the Church Council to initiate our “Above and Beyond” Giving Campaign. Right away they began to challenge each other to give. There are matching amounts that allow us to also offer “Double Your Blessings.” For every dollar you give, up to the matching amount, your impact doubles!

Our goal between now and the end of the year is $285,000 above and beyond regular giving. I know we can do it together. Take a look at your financial backpack and ask the question: Am I carrying a load or a burden? If your answer is a load, consider how much you can give “Above and Beyond” your pledged giving, so that those who are carrying a burden won’t have to increase their pain. If you are carrying a financial burden, please let know me how I can pray for you or connect you with those who may provide assistance. I believe everyone can give something. Remember, we must all carry our own load. But if you can give Above and Beyond your load, please do so.

Brent Kieschnick, Debbie Emery, Terry McLean (our new Chair of Finance), Rev. Ron, and I along with the entire Finance Committee and Church Council are committed to meeting this year-end goal. Three members on the Finance Committee have already made a $10,000 matching challenge, plus an anonymous donor has made a $15,000 matching challenge. So, whether you are giving $1, $50, $100, $500, $1000, $2,500, $5000, $10,000, or $50,000, you are contributing to Bear Creek United Methodist Church’s ability to make a difference in the lives of people in our congregation, our community, West Houston, and the world.

Know that in the meantime, our church leadership will be working on a 2024 financial plan with which Bear Creek UMC can live.

For now – please check your Financial Backback and go to the special “Above & Beyond” option on the Give Now Form 2023 and contribute the additional amount to which your heart and prayers have led you. Let’s finish this year Bear Creek Strong.

Thank you and may God bless you!

Pastor Leo