Sharing the burden with Jesus – Asbury University
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Sharing the burden with Jesus

October 9, 2023

Sherry Wilson ‘77 Powers 
Provost, Asbury University 

After watching a juggler preform on a children’s program my granddaughters and I tried juggling multiple balls in the air. The professional jester made juggling multiple objects look very easy. Do you know that only 21% of the public can juggle? Juggling is shown to boost brain development, focus one’s attention, and improve hand and eye coordination. Practice and instruction prepare the juggler to think faster and move quickly with greater accuracy. However, it became clear to Audrey, Elizabeth, and me that one wrong move would cause the balls to come crashing down. We juggled two balls with varying degrees of success, however, when there were too many balls in the air, they all came crashing down.  

During the academic year I often feel like I have too many balls in the air. The harder I try to juggle important responsibilities, essential projects, physical demands, and emotional stress my life feels out of control. As a result, I become physically drained, anxious, and spiritually empty. I focus on improving my multi-tasking skills and organizational practices. However, only focusing on better ways to handle responsibilities does not address the God shaped vacuum in my heart that yearns for deep communion with my Savior. The good news is that Jesus gives us a key to expert juggling through the example of Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42.  

Jesus and the disciples were visiting in the home of Mary and Martha. Suddenly, Martha, who had opened her home to Jesus and His followers, was distracted by all the necessary preparations to care for the visitors. In the meantime, Mary sat at Jesus feet listening to His teachings. Finally, Martha exclaims: “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10: 40).   

I imagine Martha was juggling all the responsibilities that she could handle. Although hosting Jesus and the disciples was a joy it suddenly became a burden that negatively affected her experience with Jesus and the group. Too often I am like Martha. I find myself taking on responsibilities that God did not intend me to bear, and ineffectively focusing on life’s demands.  Amid such frustration, it is easy to blame others for difficult circumstances, and resent God’s calling. After all, how will things get done if Christians simply sit and listen to the teachings of Jesus? This would result in the existence of many ineffective ministries where disciples exhibit a stance of only being hearers of the Word. Serving Jesus is a blessed calling but when it becomes a burden, it is easy to become resentful. Typically, I bring this type of resentment on myself because I have too many balls in the air that Jesus never intended for me to handle.  

Jesus lovingly responds, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42). Like Martha, I must learn to listen, choose well, and evaluate my priorities. However, despite Martha’s questionable attitude and priorities I love that in her frustration she asked Jesus for help. And Jesus lovingly challenged her to focus on His presence in her midst. 

We all carry burdens in this life that must be shared to effectively carry the load. On my own I cannot control all the balls I am attempting to juggle. Jesus invites me to loosen my grip of control, put aside my pride, and admit my needs in prayer. Sharing the burden with Jesus requires knowing Him and choosing Him above all things. When I do, God grants me the wisdom, energy, and light to handle responsibilities. Jesus helps me select the balls I need to juggle, those to share with others, and those that I need to release. Then, the daily responsibilities and calling on my life become part of my daily communion with Jesus, and opportunities to experience all the possibilities of His grace in this life.