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Being a Human, Not a Light Effort - By Pastor Thomas Engel


If you google “Atlas,” you will see many works of art showing the Greek Titan carrying a sphere.

Some of those works of art get it wrong.

The common misconception is that Atlas is carrying the globe on his shoulders, but the myth has him carrying the celestial heavens.

We think the earth weighs about 13 billion trillion tons. I’m sure all the planets and stars above us weigh a quite a bit more than the one planet, earth.

So, let’s straighten out the misconceptions and be sure not to short Atlas.

According to Greek Mythology, Atlas is carrying all of that is in the sky above us for all of eternity.

He has to be getting tired. I wonder if he gets bathroom breaks.

We might say in a tough time that it feels like that we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders.

Here, we are not speaking literally. Arnold Schwarzenegger during his early pumping irons days was strong, but any kind of workout plan with protein shakes will definitely not help any guy lift the 13 billion trillion tons that the world weighs.

Even as we are speaking figuratively, the world has a lot of troubles-violence of all kinds, conflicts of all kinds, poverty, and disease.

We are not actually talking about carrying all of the problems of the world. But, we can feel that way with the many troubles of our lives that often come.

We don’t ever want to minimize our troubles, for they are real to us and have to be attended to.

But, to say, I’m not sure that we can always “fix” our problems, and I’m not sure that we can always get our lives just the way that we would like them.

When it comes to problems, some of them work themselves out. Some problems take a lot of patience. Some problems take a lot of effort. With some problems, we just have to learn to live with them.

We can try our best to manage, so we can get through those hard days.

And it seems that one way or another that we do to get through them.

With no doubt, we have trials in our lives and must face them.

It’s not always easy, is it? Being human is not a light effort.

It’s not meant to be easy.

The real struggle is trying to find the answer to the question, “Why does it have to be this way?”

Since we are always having some kind of problem, we need a perspective to help get us through.

A perspective that works in every situation.

Let’s go to the Epistle Reading for today and see what St Paul has to say about our troubles, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”

Wait a second! In his first words, not only is St Paul telling us that our problems are light, but he is also telling us that they do not last very long.

You might say as I would to St Paul, “Hey, what I’m feeling right now does not feel like a light momentary affliction.”

I know that when a problem is weighing on me, and I have a sleepless night because of it, that night can seem to go on forever.

So, troubles can seem like they weigh like tons on our shoulders, and they can seem like they never end.

I don’t know if this helps, but St Paul had a lot of problems, too, in his life like when he preached the Gospel and suffered persecution with beatings, was thrown in prison, and the list of his trials goes on.

But, he also knew that his trials had a purpose.

For as much as problems can cause us aches, pains, anxiety, and hurt, they are preparing us for something that is quite opposite of those things.

Our present heavy troubles are preparing us for something that also has a weight, but this weight can’t be measured, for it’s so big that we can’t even imagine how big it is.

Going further into what St. Paul is saying, I think you know that we are talking about the glory of God that covers all of heaven and earth.

Scientists and mathematicians did not put the earth on a scale to get it’s weight, but, of course, used a formula to figure it all out.

It’s an important point that we can figure out things on earth with our minds, but, by anything human, we can’t figure out all that is about God.

Realizing how God is not completely grasped by our minds gives us comfort in our lives, for we can trust our God, who is so big and so mighty, knows what is best for us.

What we do need to know most is that God is love and only acts out of His love for us.

All that we go through is taking us to an eternal glory in heaven.

We might not understand everything and like all that we go through, but our God of love knows what He is doing.

God knows that we sin, and how we can be our own worst enemies.

God knows that Satan roams the world and tries to create as much chaos as he can.

God knows that we can’t save ourselves from the punishment of eternal death for our sins.

He knows that sin deserves temporal and eternal punishment in hell, which makes for the heaviest load.

God, not wanting one person to suffer damnation, out of His love for us, sent Jesus to take the full weight of our sin to the cross.

Talking about glory, it was Jesus’ most glorious moment when he suffered and died for us on the cross.

When Jesus rose on the third day, it claimed a victory forever over sin, Satan, and eternal death.

This victory continues Jesus’ glory, and Jesus gives us his glory that outweighs all the troubles in our lives.

With no doubt, for we have lived long enough and been through enough trials, we know that being human is no light effort.