Good people don’t want to be a burden. They don’t want to “put other folks out.”
This is why . . .
Aging parents have trouble allowing their children to do more for them.
The cancer patient struggles to allow church members to come clean her house, because she knows the ladies are busy.
The elder doesn’t want to have a celebration meal and service of recognition for his 30+ years of service when he is stepping down from that role.
The single mother doesn’t want to depend upon grandmother, but she doesn’t know where else to turn.
A co-worker who doesn’t want to go home and rest allowing the others to pull her slack while she has pneumonia.
Each of these scenarios, and the ones you just thought of in your mind, all struggle with accepting the love and service of others. I want to suggest that it is right for us to carry our own load. Because many in the world do not carry their own load, those who do, struggle with the reverse–letting others share in their burden.
When we have no other way, we will finally allow help, but then we talk the whole time about not wanting it or trying to get them to do less.
There is a line from Ruth that is helpful on this topic. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, is returning back to her homeland of Israel after the passing of her husband and two sons. She encourages her daughter-in-laws to remain in their homeland of Moab. But Ruth makes that great pledge of allegiance to her that we often quote in weddings saying committing to be with her till death (Ruth 1:16-17). We all know this part of the book, but do we equally know Naomi’s behavior in the next verse? The Bible says, “when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more” (v. 18).
Naomi relented and accepted Ruth’s love and commitment. She didn’t constantly badger her to return. She didn’t wake up everyday feeling like a burden that didn’t deserve such love. She accepted Ruth’s love and they embarked on the challenge of survival together.
Sometimes, when others are determined to love and serve us we need to “say no more.” This will bring so much more joy into the relationship. It will allow the caregiver to serve with joy and feeling like their service is welcome and appreciated. It will allow the receiver to move on and take security in the love and service of the other.
Truthfully, sometimes it is easier to give love than accept love. “Saying no more” is a tough challenge. But you rob the person of a blessing of being able to love you, when you constantly try to get them to stop doing what they want to do. Consider how you like being treated when you try to carry someone else’s burden. So take a lesson from Naomi and “say no more.”