Difference Between Burden and Load


Galatians 6:1-5: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”

What is the difference between a Burden and a load? 

It helps to know that the word for “burden” in verse 2 speaks of a crushing weight, while the word for “load” in verse 5 speaks of a backpack such as a soldier might carry on the march.

The “burden” here is the Greek word: “baros” — it has the meaning of a very heavy burden … most likely a moral failure … meaning a heavy shame and guilt!

The person referred to in verse 1 was under a very heavy burden of sin, shame, guilt.  This was a weight large enough to break someone, to weigh them down so much that it would restrict movement. Sin restricts movement.

Definition of Burden: a problem, a drain, a liability, an encumbrance.

Definition of Load: cargo, capacity, shipment, consignment.

Point 1: What does “carry your own load” mean? 

In simplest terms: “you need to SHOULDER YOUR OWN PACK.”

Do you know all of the First Principles? Do you know our movement’s history? Can you defend our church against a hostile enemy? Can you refute autonomy? Can you hold your own against a materialist, atheist, Muslim, or Jehovah Witness?  How many books have you read this month?

Are you an Evangelist that Evangelizes? Are you a Shepherd that Shepherds?

Is your pack full of convictions?

This principle also affects our financial example in housing situations.

2 Thessalonians 3:8: “nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.”

1 Thessalonians 2:9: “Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.”

If you don’t carry your own load, the consequence is sin. You become a burden to people, which steals their faith.

Let us encourage one another, not discourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).

2 Timothy 3:6: “They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible (other translations say SILLY, SPIRITUALLY DWARFED, WEAK NATURED, WEAK WILLED) women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires…”

Carry your own load. Pay your own bills. Parent your own children. Take care of your own health, etc… Do not expect others to suffer for your own mistakes or feel burdened with your lack of discipline in carrying your own load.

As a leader, disciple your people. Raise up your own leaders. Grow your own, don’t moan on the phone.

Create momentum, don’t expect others to initiate the attacks to make you look successful (i.e., Saul and Jonathan).

Forcing other disciples to carry “your load” can ruin your trust with disciples.

What can happen when we confront this type of sin?

  • Defensiveness  – Galatians 4:16: “Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth”?
  • Disciples can get angry at having to deal with their lack of discipline for the first time in life.
  • Manipulation  – 1 Thessalonians 4:6: “and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.”
  • Disciples can say things like, “I don’t ‘feel’ like this is loving.” Or they can selfishly expect other disciples to support them financially. They can also try deflecting from the true situation by focussing on “how they were confronted” instead of “Why they were confronted.”
  • Rebellion/Hard Heartedness-  Hebrews 3:15: “As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.’”
  • Ignoring correction. Unrepentant hearts. Pretending they were not spoken to about an issue.
  • Excuses – 1 Samuel 15:20-21: “But I did obey…”
  • Partial obedience is complete disobedience. Partial payment is total sin.
  • Repentance –  Mathew 5:25: “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.”

Repentance encourages everyone, even you!

Point 2: What burdens must we help each other with? 

In this day and age, it seems all of us have some sort of burden to bear, some type of problem we carry into the kingdom. There are several different burdens we face, the burdens of sin, or temptation, the burden of guilt, burdens of providing for our families, the list goes on. It is imperative that we help ourselves, and help our brothers and sisters.

Little Susie went to the corner store for her mom and was gone a little longer than mom thought necessary. When she asked her what took so long, Susie told her that she saw little Annie with a broken doll. “Did you stop to help her fix it?”
“We couldn’t fix it, “said Susie, “But I stayed a while to help her cry.”
This is the heart true disciples should have. Care over confrontation. Compassion but not to the point we compromise.
Galatians 6:1-5: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.  Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”
The verb used here for “carry” literally translates, “be ready to carry”…

Part of being a disciple is “being ready to help” other disciples with their burdens. The concept of “western civilization” where everybody is alone and independent is absent in the Bible (unless it is condemned).

One of the greatest testimonies we have as disciples is laying our lives down for one another, especially if people are burdened with sin.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-14: “What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.”

1 Timothy 5:16: “If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.”

Hebrews 13:17: “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”

We have to help each other carry burdens. We cannot be unfeeling and remove ourselves from the problems our brothers and sisters have. You yourself will have the same problem at some point. Right now, there is a disciple who is helping you carry your burden! Do not be self-righteous.

Point 3: What burdens do we wrongly take upon ourselves that we should not? 

What did they struggle with in the early church?

Galatians 5:1-6: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Forcing people to obey the old covenant laws.

Matthew 23:4: “They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”

Luke 11:46: “Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”

The law was too heavy to carry for most, especially without servant leaders. That’s why Christ came to take away the law.

Colossians 2:9-19: “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.”

Exodus 18:15-26: “Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”
Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain —and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.”

There is no clergy/laity divide in the Kingdom. The burden of leadership is to be shared so everyone’s needs are met and not just by you.  Leaders must learn to delegate. (Also see Deuteronomy 1:9-18)

Numbers 11:10-17: “Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me —if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”
The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone. “

When we expect all the answers to come from us and don’t involve other leaders to help us, “it’s all on us.” We must lay the needs before the leaders and people and resolve it together. Go to God together and seek his answers to whatever issues there are.

Point 4: How do we fix burdens? 

Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.”

By follow Jesus’s teaching on any and every situations.

Psalm 38:4: “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.”

When people are in sin, just as when we first studied with them, we are to teach them what is sin and call them to change, which leads to them repenting. Then their burden of guilt is lifted – times of refreshing come.  Often people do not know what their sin is.

Psalm 68:19: “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

Psalm 81:6: “I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket.”

We must them point people to God, get them to pray. God is the rescuer, not us. We need to expect him to do the miraculous, not us.

Nehemiah 5:15: ”But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that.”

As leaders we must lead well!


As long as the church exists, there will be burdens to carry.  The knowledge that we are not alone in the struggles of faith is most encouraging!

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