By Elece Hollis
For the Tired Mother:
Pick Up Your Bundles!
It’s been a while since I’ve carried a bundle, you may say. Maybe I carried a bundle to summer camp when I was a child or a teen. Might be I carried a bundle of clothes to the laundromat when I was newly married and didn’t have my own washing machine yet. But has it been that long? Are you carrying one now that is holding you back and weighing you down, or have you dropped it somewhere?
In the book of Jeremiah, the people of Israel are told to pick up their bundles from the ground…(Jeremiah 10–17). Their country was about to be taken over by the Babylonians and they needed to be prepared for the journey into exile. They needed to bundle up a few necessities and be ready.
We are not being prepared for exile as they were but still this verse speaks to us. It has some good advice that we need as moms because we do have bundles. Often we try to carry several bundles. We carry bundles that aren’t ours. We try to carry heavy loads too. We do but should we?
I love to read stories of immigrants who came to America from Europe. They came for liberty and prosperity. They came with high hopes and dreams. They came carrying babies on their hips and they carried bundles. If you have ever seen photos of the wave of people docking at Ellis Island, you have seen the immigrants and their bundles.
The bundles were small packets of clothes tied up to be easily accessible when needed. The travelers carried only their necessities. They might have carried a beloved book, a change of clothes, a Bible, a letter, some old precious photographs, a packet of seeds, a few coins, needle and thread, grandmother’s thimble, a comb. These things were needed and precious. The immigrants kept these things close and protected.
The American pioneers went west in covered wagons. They carried loads. They carried heavy loads of all they thought they’d need along the way, and what they would need to start over again in the west. Many wagons were emptied before the pioneers made it across the Rocky Mountains. There were things left beside the trail.There were pianos, large pieces of furniture, trunks, bedsteads, and mirrors. These were things that became too heavy to carry and had to be left so that the families could survive. A pioneer woman would find her grandmother’s china was too great a burden. A carved bureau became much too heavy to carry any further. Those who took less lost less.
Galatians 6:5 says: For each one will bear his own load. Are you trying to carry someone’s else’s load? Your husband’s load, maybe, or your children’s loads? Are you carrying loads that belong to another? They too must carry their own bundles.
In verse 2 of chapter 6 we read: Bear ye one another’s burdens. That sounds contradictory. How can we do both: carry our own and still bear another’s? Why would we need to carry each other’s if each of us carried his own? I think the difference here is that one is a burden and another is a load. We are not supposed to carry loads. We are to help each other, lend a hand, pray, help with the pains and heartaches each of us faces.
In Matthew 11:28–30 Jesus said: Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
We are to let God help us with our loads and help each other with our burdens, carry our bundles and follow Christ. We must lighten our loads, share them with Christ and with each other. We must leave behind what is weighing us down, what endangers our survival. We must trust the Lord to provide for us what we will need along the journey. If we pack up all we imagine we will need, it will be a hard journey indeed. It will be too heavy and we will lose heart and give up before we have finished the race.
We don’t need to carry everything, be everything, try everything, care about everyone and about every cause. We need to pick up our bundles––our light packets, our manageable items and follow the Lord. We need only to pick up our bundles from the ground and go on.