Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis

A Burden for Others

A centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.
Luke 7:2-3 (NIV)

In Luke 7:1-10, we read of a Roman centurion who was respected by the Jews in his community, and who made a request of Jesus. One of his servants was deathly ill, and he asked Jesus to heal him.

Notice the burden he carries for his servant. This is not a son who bears the weight of carrying the family name and guarantees a monetary future. This is not a daughter who has taught him the power of love and protection and how to be the necessary mix of nurturer and defender. This is not a spouse whose heart has been knitted to his, beloved until he can’t imagine enduring the rest of his life without her.

This is a servant—utilitarian at best, expendable at worst. And yet, the centurion soldier carries such a deep burden for him that he’ll use whatever proximity he has to Jesus. He’ll expend whatever privilege that is his to get a word to Jesus. And when he does get a word to Jesus, he doesn’t make it about himself.

He doesn’t say, “Increase my fortunes.” He doesn’t say, “Elevate my name.” He doesn’t say, “Increase my title” or “Enlarge my territory.” He says, “I have a servant and I am burdened for him; I need you to heal him.”

This centurion’s request is not about himself. His burden on that day was for somebody else. Do you know how strange that sounds in these days in which we live? Most people these days are excessively caught up in their own space. But when the chance comes for this man to focus the spotlight on himself, he instead used the privilege of access and the potential that proximity provided him to request that Jesus come minister to his servant.

I believe that a strong indication of Jesus’s impact on our lives is revealed in the burdens it creates in us for other people.

This burden is the spiritual discipline needed to share Jesus with others. God gives us this burden because that is how the kingdom is expanded. It is what feeds evangelism. It is what adds fuel to your witness and testimony.

We all should long for an increase of the burden to see others enjoy a relationship with Jesus, to help others understand the power of God’s love and the strength of forgiveness and live a redeemed life.

Do you carry a burden for the people around you to experience Jesus?