A little boy was spending his Saturday morning playing in his sandbox. He had with him his toy cars and trucks, his plastic pail, and a shiny, red plastic shovel. In the process of creating roads and tunnels in the soft sand, he discovered a large rock in the middle of the sandbox. He dug around the rock managing to dislodge it from the dirt. With no little bit of struggle, he pushed and shoved the rock across the sandbox by using his feet — he was a very small boy and the rock was very big. When the boy got the rock to the edge of the sandbox, however, he found that he couldn’t roll it up and over the little wall.
Determined, the little boy shoved, pushed, and pried, but every time he thought he had made some progress, the rock tipped and then fell back into the sandbox. The little boy grunted, struggled, pushed, and shoved, but his only reward was to have the rock roll back, smashing his chubby fingers. Finally, he burst into tears of frustration. All this time the boy’s father watched from his living room window as the drama unfolded.
At the moment the tears fell, a huge shadow fell across the boy and the sandbox. It was the boy’s father. Gently, but firmly, he said, “Son, why didn’t you use all the strength that you had available?” Defeated, the boy sobbed back, “But I did, Daddy. I did. I used all the strength that I had!” “No son,” corrected the father kindly, “you didn’t use all the strength you had available. You didn’t ask me.” With that, the father reached down, picked up the rock, and easily removed it from the sandbox. *
All of us have burdens from time to time with which we struggle. We “push” and we “pull” but we can’t remove the burdens from our lives. One such burden that is carried by each and every one of us is the burden of SIN. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This burden is so big that none of us has the strength to deal with it under his/her own power. What makes it worse is that sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and puts us on the path of destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). Scripture affirms that we are “powerless” to remove this burden from our lives.
But Scripture also reveals the “good news” (the Gospel): “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6 NIV). On the cross, Jesus took our burden of sin upon Himself and paid the price for our redemption (Ephesians 1:7). “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
Through His shed blood, we can have the forgiveness of our sins and receive the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23).
God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
Struggle as we may, none of us has the strength to remove the burden of sin from our lives. But Jesus does. And He will, if only YOU will allow Him to through your trusting obedience.
by -- David A. Sargent
* Slightly adapted from “Using All the Strength Available” by Stephen Bradd, of Clinton, IL, as shared in The Sower (7/10/16), a publication for the Arthur (IL) Church of Christ; Ron Bartanen, Evangelist.
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