Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NLT
He had never “set up” before, but he was about to.
Jody Baxter ambled to the Forrester place to see his good friend, Fodder-wing. Fodder-wing was good with animals—especially naming them—and Jody wanted him to name his new pet, a fawn.
When Jody arrived, he received terrible news. Fodder-wing, his crippled friend, had died. Ma Forrester asked Jody to do something he’d never done before: set up with Fodder-wing’s body during the night. A common practice, but one Jody had never done. Uncomfortable and spooky though it was, Jody “set up” all night with his good friend’s body.
The author writes, “He shared their sorrow, and they became a part of his, and the sharing spread their grief a little, by thinning it.” (The Yearling)
While not a custom for most any longer, I once lived in a region of my state where a form of “settin’ up” still took place. I had been accustomed, when attending a visitation for a deceased person, to walk through the line, hug the family members, express my condolences, and then leave. But in this place, everyone sat around and talked for the entire visitation period.
Paul called “settin’ up” sharing each other’s burdens, and encouraged early believers to do it. Doing so would fulfill the law of Christ and ease the pain of fellow human beings.
Settin’ up doesn’t have to accompany only times of death. We can do it in any tough times others experience. By doing so, we share their load—thin their grief—and any shared load is lighter.
We can set up through intercessory prayer. I once had a college professor who wrote down every prayer request a student mentioned … and actually prayed for them. We may not understand all the aspects of prayer, but praying for others functions in some unexplainable way—if for nothing else to make us sensitive to others’ needs.
We can set up by doing something practical. Don’t ask the person to let you know what they need. Just do something.
And if we’re financially unable to help when we know of a need, we can share the need with someone who can. In that way, we’re still sharing the load.
Make it a regular practice to do a little “settin’ up” with others.
Prayer: Father, as You “set up” with us, give us a heart to do the same for others.
Tweetable: Are you settin' up with others?
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