TONY ELDER: Let Jesus shoulder your spiritual burdens

Recently, one of our daughters used our home for the purpose of holding a two-day garage sale. She considered it to be a better location for such an event than her residence.

We were glad to help her out, and it gave us an opportunity to participate by trying to sell a few items ourselves. We were especially interested in getting rid of several larger pieces of furniture which we no longer used.

A few of those items were snatched up quickly by the early morning bargain hunters who ventured by. However, at the end of the first day, two of our largest offerings in the sale still remained. I really, really wanted someone to take those particular items.

I could claim that my motivation was primarily a noble one of wishing to help someone find something they could use. But honesty compels me to deny that claim. Neither was monetary compensation the principal motivation.

I have to admit that the main reason behind my desire to see those furnishings sold was simply not wanting to have to carry those heavy loads back down into my basement. It was a combination of their back-breaking weight and the amount of space they occupied that led me to whisper a prayer for someone to come and purchase them.

As time went by, we were willing to considerably reduce the amount of money we would accept for those two items. Thankfully, my prayer was answered and they were both taken before the sale was over.

The Bible encourages us to "lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). Sometimes we're guilty of allowing things in our lives that weigh us down. They hinder us from effectively running the race and living a victorious life in Christ. They take up time and space in our lives that could be used for better things.

But too often, like garage sale items, we hang on to them out of some fondness for them, some connection to our past, or just not wanting to go through the effort of cleaning out our spiritual house. It's easier and more comfortable to hang on to them, rather than get rid of them.

But we need to recognize those bad habits, hurtful attitudes, or other such baggage as burdens that are holding us back. We need to do as the Scripture says and lay them aside. Let's make whatever sacrifices we must in order to let go of those things.

For unbelievers there is an even greater burden weighing down on them. John Bunyan, in his literary masterpiece "Pilgrim's Progress," famously depicted the heavy burden of sin and guilt which weighs down every traveler through life. It's a load from which we are incapable of freeing ourselves.

It is only when the pilgrim reaches the cross that he finds freedom from that ponderous burden.

If we've experienced such deliverance, let's never forget it or take it for granted. Let's be grateful for a Savior who died to set us free.

But if you're still lugging around the weight of guilt and sin today, know that Christ can lift that burden off of you as well. Put your trust in the One who loved you enough to take your burden of sin upon Himself.

If you're tired of holding onto and carrying some such heavy load in your heart, have a spiritual garage sale. Lay that burden aside. Jesus has already paid the price for it. Trust Him to come and haul it off.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.