A long time ago a Queen gave birth to twin sons, however there was some great confusion as to which boy was born first. As the boys grew into adulthood, the King sought to find, a fair way to designate one of them as the crowned prince, who would someday replace him on the throne.
The King and all his advisors thought the young men were equal in intelligence, wit, health, personal charm and physical strength. Being a keenly observant King, he thought he had detected a trait in one son, which was not shared by the other.
The King called his sons to his counsil chamber one day and said, "My sons, the day will come when one of you must succeed me as king. The burdens of sovereignty and power are very heavy. I must find out, not only which of you is better able to bear them, but which of you will bear them cheerfully. I am sending you both out to a far corner of my kingdom. There you will meet with one of my advisors, and he will place an equal burden upon your shoulders. My crown will one day go, to the one who first returns, bearing his burden like a king should!"
The brothers set out together in a spirit of friendly competition. They soon came across an aged women struggling under a burden that seemed far too heavy for her frail body. One son suggested that they stop to help her. The other son protested and argued: "We have a burden of our own to worry about just now. Let us be on our way!"
The objecting son hurried on, while the other son stayed behind to give aid to the aged women. Along the road, from one day to another, he found many others who also needed help. A blind man took him miles out of his way and a lame man had slowed him down to a cripple's walk. He wondered if his brother was well on his way home to their father, as he gave gathered food for an elderly and feeble couple.
Eventually he did reach his father's advisor, where he secured his own burden. He wasted no time and immediately started home with it safely on his shoulders. When he finally arrived at the palace, his brother met him as the gate and greeted him with dismay. He said to his brother carrying the burden on his shoulders, "I don't understand. I told our father that the burden was too heavy to carry. However did you do it?"
The future king replied thoughtfully and genuinely, "I suppose that when I helped others carry their burdens, I found the strength to carry my own."
What a beautiful picture of Christianity, carrying and sharing the load of another. When we see the burdens of a brother or sister, it is always easy to say, "I will pray for you!" However, it is not until we share in that burden, that the blessings from heaven begin to fall on all concerned.
Do we really think that we will get anywhere, just by learning all the right words to say... but never doing anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? We can no more show our works apart from our faith... than show our faith apart from our works. Our faith and works, works and faith... fit together hand in glove.
Furthermore as the future king stated, our burdens do lighten, as we extend our hands to others in need. There is no joy in isolating ourselves when we hurt... but there is a pure intoxication of joy when we join with others to share burdens!
If you are hurting today... If your burden seems to heavy... begin to share in someone else's misfortune. You will see your sorrows turn to smiles!