The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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     I don’t know how you spend your Saturdays but mine tend to have lots of variety (translated as working on several different projects). A recent Saturday began with food preparation for my mom followed by hauling items to the burn pile and starting a fire. Next, my wife Joyce and I loaded a trailer with several commodes and water heaters that had been replaced during a home renovation project. We delivered these items to a ministry non-profit located about a half hour from our house. We then drove about a half-hour in another direction to pick up a new refrigerator for the ministry building (“The Shed”) being constructed behind my house. Due to COVID-19, home appliances have been fairly scarce and hard to get. We were told by folks at the various home improvement stores that appliance orders took 8 weeks to arrive. Fortunately, a fridge having the desired features had been located and purchased from an off-our-beaten-path appliance store. So, with truck, trailer, ratchet straps, appliance dolly, and GPS, we made our way to the store. (Let me inform you that the store had a home-delivery option but the fee was between $150 and $200 to bring the refrigerator to my house so I, being cheap and a DIYer, determined to handle the pick-up and delivery task without outside assistance).
     The store closes at 12 o’clock noon on Saturdays and we arrived at 11:56 AM. I was under the impression that the shop’s owner (a male employee) would be available to help me load the refrigerator on the trailer. Unfortunately such was not the case. So, after positioning the dolly and securing the fridge, I wheeled the larger-than-I-am appliance out of the store and unto the trailer. The saleslady and Joyce contributed to the operation. (I’m not sure how much they contributed since I couldn’t see them on account of the refrigerator but knowing they were present, wishing me well in my endeavor, and rooting for my successful completion of the project certainly gave me a boost.)              
     Because quitting time had already passed, the saleslady departed leaving us to continue with the delivery efforts. After a lengthy period of securing the refrigerator with ratchet straps, we were set to begin the next leg of our Saturday journey. We drove about 45 minutes to a sewing/fabric store (that closed at 2:00 PM) in order to purchase twenty-five yards of elastic to be used with the face masks that Joyce’s mother sews almost daily. We arrived with ample time to spare, made the purchase, and drove toward the next destination on our agenda. Upon arriving at my mom’s house, we unloaded a cooler of food that had been prepared and put the containers in her refrigerator. We then visited with my mother for about 30 minutes.
     Although we had slept in (till 6:00 AM) that Saturday morning, we left my mother’s house around 3:00 PM feeling good about the progress that had been made so far throughout the day. I still needed to cut about 3 ½ acres of grass but I knew that plenty of daylight remained so I wasn’t too concerned. About 15 minutes later, we arrived home. As I was backing the trailer up the driveway, Joyce asked “How are we going to get the refrigerator off the trailer?” I guess she was thinking about the fact that the saleslady was not present to assist. With a straight face and a straight-from-a-physics-textbook answer, I grunted “Gravity” (which, by the way, did not seem to satisfy her or truly answer the question).              
     After removing the ratchet straps, I began the somewhat challenging task of maneuvering the refrigerator into a position where I could lean the dolly back enough to roll forward toward the ramp at the end of the trailer. This required more effort than I had anticipated (perhaps the saleslady helped more than I thought during the loading process) and I was drenched with sweat by the time the fridge was off the trailer. I carefully set the appliance down in the carport.
     With the refrigerator safe from rain, Joyce felt that we had accomplished all that could be done at that point and suggested that we wait to move the refrigerator to the other building until additional muscle was available (her sister and brother-in-law). Of course, being a DIYer (a rather confident DIYer), I declared “We can do it!” I felt like Caleb who said “Give me this hill country. I’m as strong today as I was forty years ago” (my paraphrase). If spoken, my version would have been something like, “Get out of my way! I can move this nearly 500-pound fridge by myself! After all, I’m as strong today as I was 40 years ago!” 
     Without saying a word, but with a frown on her face, Joyce helped me lean the refrigerator back onto the dolly so I could navigate the last leg of the journey. Without any major issues, I wheeled across the carport, up the walkway, and into the ministry building. Unfortunately, however, I did not set the fridge down as close to the proper spot as necessary. Again, Joyce encouraged and admonished me to leave the refrigerator alone until more help was available. (I think she was mainly concerned that the new sheetrock did not receive a gash from a mishandled fridge). Ignoring her wise counsel (and the bigger-than-before frown on her face), I put my foot on the axle of the dolly and pulled back.
     Based on the title of this article, you probably guessed several paragraphs ago what happened next. In less time than necessary to utter “Oops,” the dolly and refrigerator (did I mention the fridge’s weight?) found their way on top of me! As I lay on the concrete floor, Joyce rushed around from the other side with a look that I’m not sure I knew then or now how to interpret. My initial interpretation of her facial expression included “I told you so,” “Good riddance,” and “I hope my refrigerator is OK.” I quickly realized that she actually was very concerned about me at least until I said, “I hope I didn’t break it” to which she responded, “If so, then I’ll just get another one.” (I wasn’t sure if she meant buying another refrigerator or getting another husband who listens to her once in a while).               
     Sometimes we encounter situations in life that are more than we can or should try to handle alone. Whether carrying a heavy life burden, contemplating a difficult decision, considering a gut-wrenching dilemma, or confronting an impossible task, we should heed the words of Moses’ father-in-law Jethro who essentially asked Moses “Why are you trying to do everything by yourself?” Then, after Moses’ response, Jethro declared, “What you are doing is not good…you will certainly wear yourself out…because the task is too heavy for you…you can’t do it alone” (Exodus 18:14 & 17-18). Jethro then encouraged Moses to share the load with others and, unlike me, Moses listened to wise counsel (vv. 21-27). Granted, some burdens must be shouldered individually (Galatians 6:5), but our pride, arrogance, or naivety should not prevent us from sharing the load with others. After all, Christians have been instructed to “Carry one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). Ultimately, we can shift our burdens to the Lord as we “cast aside every hindrance…and run with endurance…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Why? Because “He himself took our weaknesses” (Isaiah 53:4) and Jesus encourages us to “Come…all you who are weary and heavy-burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28).

     Elisha Hoffman summed up our need to rely on Jesus rather than upon self when he wrote:

“I must tell Jesus, all of my trials; I cannot bear these burdens alone; In my distress He kindly will help me; He ever loves and cares for His own.”

“I must tell Jesus all of my troubles; He is a kind, compassionate friend; If I but ask Him, He will deliver, Make of my troubles quickly an end.”

“Tempted and tried, I need a great Savior; One who can help my burdens to bear; I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus; He all my cares and sorrows will share.” 

     To Hoffman’s words I would simply add an encouragement to affirm and apply Proverbs 3:5-6 in your daily living when faced with heavy burdens. Otherwise, you may find yourself on the ground under a heavy refrigerator reminding you to “Trust the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in everything. He will direct your path.”