“Bear one another’s burdens.” —Galatians 6:2 NRSV
Dan is a believer in his early fifties. He has a wonderful supportive wife in every aspect. His two children are grown and living very productive lives. However, Dan was called upon to face what he had never faced. He had grown up in a poor economic environment. He had therefore determined he would rise above this level. He spent the important years preparing himself through education, training, and experience to always be able to provide for himself and family.
Suddenly, at the age when he thought he would have reached his professional apex, he found himself without employment for the first time in his life. The first few months he took it as a challenge and set about spending time becoming credentialed in areas of his field that he thought would bring more opportunity. Yet after months of such advanced training there were still no job opportunities. As most men would he threw himself into sending out more resumes hoping that the law of percentages would be on his side. Still the months moved on without a concrete job offer. Then the phase began when the few offers that came called for him to enter new fields or relocate jeopardizing his wife’s career.
All the time he was serving his local church and going through an elder-in-training program. During one of his meetings with the Board of Elders and me (his pastor), I suggested we as an elder board and spiritual brothers of Dan join together. Let us designate a specific day for fasting and prayer on behalf of Dan’s employment issue. A few days later Dan e-mailed me with a thank you stating how encouraging it was to have a group of men in his life willing to fast and pray for him. This very effort brought him closer to each of us as we fasted and prayed every Wednesday for Dan. Each man was weekly in contact with Dan. They were naturally drawn to seek Dan out each Sunday to speak a word of encouragement or pray with him.
This time of committed fasting continued for the next four months. During those four months, Dan reported to the board of elders various possibilities, with all the highs and lows of expectations rising and falling.
On September 1, 2011, I opened an email from Dan that read; “Hello All, The prayer and fasting has been answered. I start my new job on September 12.” The new job was in his field and was just twenty minutes from his home. Dan would later share with the elder board that although he was unemployed for over a year, his checkbook balance ended $400.00 above the day he lost his job.
The bearing of one another’s burdens will produce “perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us” (Rom 5:3–5).
Dear Father, may I not waste the use of spiritual disciplines just on myself. Help me to see that in engaging in these spiritual disciplines I can benefit another. May I come to experience that your discipline in my life will produce a blessing in another’s life. I yield myself to you, O Lord, this day for your spiritual formation in my life. Amen.
Rev. Claude Robold, Pastor, New Covenant Church, Middletown / Franklin, Ohio
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