Character Trait No. 6
Definition: Bearing another’s burdens with great affection and admiration.
“Bearing one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal.6:2
Concern is a rare character trait. Paul wrote that, with the exception of Timothy, he had no one else of kindred spirit who would genuinely be concerned for the Philippians welfare. The others, he said, were all seeking after their own interests rather than those of Christ Jesus. (Phil 2:20) Then at the end of his life, all deserted him, no on supported him. (II Tim. 4:16) Timothy learned from his spiritual father, Paul, this vital characteristic of Christ, by serving him in the furtherance of the gospel. This concern permeated Paul’s life. For instance, after a lengthy list of incredible hardships suffered for Christ’s sake, he concludes: “Apart from all such external things, there is the daily pressure of concern for all the churches.” (II Cor. 11:28) He identified so deeply with their spiritual problems that he continues writing: “Who is weak (spiritually) without me being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?” (vrs. 29) Remember, Paul said we are to join in following his example.(Phil.3:17)
Concern is different than worry. Worry is a sin! As Jesus explains in Matthew 7, anxiety is concern about trivial little things like: food, shelter, and clothing or anything else to do with our bodies!! (Including the price of rice in China). These are all foolish things to lose any sleep over, as far as our Lord Jesus is concerned, even though they’re seen by men as the most important essentials of life. So who should we trust, the psychologists, or He who made all things and created us? Fortune tellers and prayer camp “prophets” are patronized by many an anxiety ridden worrywart over these things, but God’s intelligent children must trust their benevolent heavenly Father.
Worldly anxieties choke out the living word in many a new babe in Christ. Jesus called them the “worries of the world”. (Mk. 4:19) Our energies must either be eaten up by such worldly anxieties or directed toward maximum progress in achieving spiritual goals. Dissipation of vital energies by worry is like a tear in an electric cord or the old hole in the bucket. Christ must be formed in us(Gal. 4:19) or we will fall far short of heaven. How is he “formed”? By character development. Hence the urgent need to avoid the energy leakage of worry. This is one “utility bill” that you cannot afford to pay. God wants us to develop a high level of concern for others, not selfish introspection on ourselves – me, myself and I.
While worry leads to many sins such as discouragement, doubt and energy dissapation(wastage), true concern leads to powerful persistent prayers. Concern makes us stronger, not weaker! We grow and expand in Christlikeness when concerned about our fellow saints: fellowship grows tighter; letters of encouragement; prayers of thanksgiving; deeper appreciation or one another – all results from genuine concern.
The spiritually strong grow stronger by “weight lifting” the heavy burdens of weaker brothers. (Gal. 6:1) You will not be “drained” or “burned out”, at least not in the long run. A major case in point: Jesus was the most concerned man that ever lived, and yet He was definitely the most powerful individual who ever walked the planet.
Thus the church should be one huge “concern factory” producing true concern for the woes of the world As Jay Wilson said, we should communicate with every ounce of our being, “I am here to help”, and really mean it. Only through this concerned attitude will people with real problems get the real help that they need. The church should not be just a referral agency! Yes, Christ is the answer. He is a deliverer and can help the honest seeker with lasting victory over alcoholism, homosexuality, pedophilic behavior, crack addiction, chronic depression, and other such terrible problems. Our concern should mirror Christ’s concern, so that His power and love and lift the heavy burdens that people often carry in their lives.
Finally, we must admire the saints, and not be armchair critics and professional fault finders. Each fellow saint is an awesome new Creation by the Almighty God – even if he is currently struggling with some problems. A lack of concern for others reflects a lack of understanding of who and whose we really are. By faith, we can see in each Christian the glory of the King and love each other with the love of the Lord. Our concern is a key to open the tender hearts of our fellow saints and bring us together in a “Mutual Admiration Society”. By concerned about being concerned!