[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor June Windle Bare. June always delivers the best spiritual metaphors! Today’s devotional calls us to consider who we can help rescue.]

I have heard of animals rescuing another animal out of danger or certain death. I had never witnessed such an event until I was on a recent trip. We were driving along the highway in the open countryside. The old farm girl in me was enjoying the bucolic vista. Acres of fields had been plowed, sewn with seed, and the quarter-mile irrigation systems were providing ample water in our dry weather. In some fields, corn, cotton, and tomatoes were already providing a lush landscape. Meadows were teeming with cattle with their new-born calves. Ponds dotted the landscape on nearly every farm. One pond close to the road had several cows and calves drinking or grazing nearby. Then I saw it.

A half-grown cow emerged from the pond with a tiny calf on its back. It appeared that the calf had gotten in the pond and couldn’t get out, so the heifer went after it. It was amazing. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t stop to video the incident.

How like our day-by-day walk through life. The Apostle Paul tells us to

Share each other’s burden, and in this way we obey the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6: 2 NLT)

Do we, like the heifer, step in to share the burden, or do we graze and quench our thirst ignoring the helpless. The self-focus attitude of our society flies in the face of Paul’s admonition—and God’s mandate to “love your neighbor as yourself . . .” Why? Because He says, “I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)

Has our society lost our spiritual senses?

Obviously there are times with someone needs to carry his own load. If we carry it for him, he never learns what strengths he has. And there is a fine line between sharing the burden and letting others bear their own load. The apostle addresses the issue in Galatians 6: 5 (NLT):

“For we are each responsible for our own conduct.”

Sometimes it is more loving to let someone work it out without our help. We stand by for support and give a listening ear.

When this is the case, we pray, we encourage, and we love. But Paul isn’t speaking of someone who is helpless.

That calf: yes, he needed help, because he was helpless. The next time he gets near the pond, he will be warier of the danger. He needed the heifer to come and get him out of his futile struggle.

When we determine our neighbor needs for us to share his load, we see the struggle and we pitch in with prayer, encouragement, love, and a helping hand. We let them ride on our back to safety.

What if the burden is spiritual? He can’t see with the eyes of faith; she doesn’t hear the Spirit of God speaking to her soul; they haven’t tasted the grace of God; There is no aroma of the holy; and the touch of God’s presence isn’t there. In other words, they lack spiritual senses. They are helpless, and it is time to share in their burdens. As with the one who needs to shoulder his own load, we pray, we encourage, and we love them.

We need to love them with a HUGE love: humble, unconditional, genuine, and empathetic.

How like the Savior who bore our load on the cross:

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5: 6-8 NLT)

We were totally helpless, and He not only risked His life, but He died that our debt to God would be paid. Better, He rose from the dead that we could live, too, for all eternity—a life beyond even the most beautiful scenes we could imagine in this mundane setting. Meanwhile, to reflect His mercy—His bearing our burden of sin—we need to be aware of the burdens of those He puts along our day to day pathway.

That heifer could have ignored the cries of the calf, slurped up her fill of water, and munched on the grass. But she saw the burden and plunged in to lift the calf to safety. She rescued one that was helpless.

Who can we help rescue? Listen for their cry.

June Windle BareJune is a retired nurse, poet, and widow, living in southern Georgia. Now in her eighties, she remains active in her local church. Among other church responsibilities, she teaches a Sunday school class of her peers. She writes a weekly blog on Facebook, entitled “Monday Musings.” Prior to moving to Georgia, she was a regular contributor to “The Watauga Democrat” newspaper, and “All About Women,” a monthly magazine, both in Boone, North Carolina.


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