In 1884 a minister wrote a book on the parables of Jesus.  In that book, he told the story of a little Scottish girl who was carrying a child that was nearly as big as she was.  The little girl was asked if he was heavy to which she replied, “He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.”  That statement was co-opted by Father Flanagan the founder of Boys Town and made famous with the eponymous movie.  The Hollies (and other singing groups) used the phrase to write and record a hit song.  Most of us have read and/or heard the statement.  The statement speaks to the fact that a burden can be a relative thing.  A truly heavy burden/weight can feel light and a rather light burden can feel very heavy indeed.  Any burden carried at the level of the soul will be a heavy burden.

Monday…I lifted weights competitively for many years both in Olympic weightlifting and power lifting and was able to set several American records.  I can tell you that weight training can be extremely strenuous and debilitating.  We used to have a statement printed on our T-shirts: “Go heavy or go home.”  That was a motivator!  We did it for fun and competition, but to carry a heavy burden in one’s soul is destructive and not necessary.  Matthew 11:29 reminds us that one need not carry the soul’s burdens alone.

Tuesday…Christians are called to carry a cross.  Luke 9:23 makes a critically important point.  Does this mean that we are to live lives that are sad, lonely and depressing?  Certainly not!  Christians are joyful precisely because our souls are free from the burdens of sin, fear, and estrangement from God.  The worldly person has a heavy soul because they have not found true joy.

Wednesday…Do you know someone who has had a terrible life for one reason or another?  I am thinking of a young person right now who has every reason to be bitter and sad.  This person is joyful and grateful.  How does this happen?  This young Christian has learned not to be affected by circumstance but to keep one’s eyes on Jesus.  See Hebrews 12:1-3.  How much better is this approach rather than have a “heavy” soul?

Thursday…Our society is wonderful at finding cures.  Twelve years ago, I was the recipient of a mechanical aortic valve.  I can hear it at night sometimes when I lay down to sleep.  It reminds me of several important things one of which is my gratitude towards the inventor of that valve and my gratitude towards God for the past twelve years of life.  We will not find a cure, however, for a heavy soul.  Only God can cure that and He promises to do just that if we trust Him with our lives.

Friday…Recently, I read a letter from a man who was unjustly imprisoned.  Throughout this man’s life, he was imprisoned approximately five times for a total time of around eight years or so.  All on trumped up charges!  Was he bitter?  No…and that is truly incredible.  You can read the letter, too.  It’s full title is:  “Paul’s letter to the Philippians” and it is found in your Bible.  Read it today.  Just do it.  You will find out why it is called, “The Epistle of Joy.”  Paul found the secret to eradicating the heavy soul.  You will, too.