Thu Sep 24-Gold or Lead?

Hebrews 12:1-2 (CEB)

1 So then, with endurance, let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.


I don't know, but I've been told 
It's hard to run with a weight of gold 
On the other hand, I've heard it said
It's just as hard with a weight of lead
"New Speedway Boogie," Robert Hunter & Jerry Garcia

This is probably one of my favorite Grateful Dead songs. I listened to a lot of the Dead growing up, and particularly loved the album Workingman’s Dead (where you’ll find this track), which rolls all I love about blues, folk and bluegrass into a collection of amazing tunes.

I love Garcia/Hunter songs as a general rule, but this lyric has always struck me for its simple, elegant truth: you’ve got to decide what it is you want to carry around with you. Because you can carry gold or you can carry lead – and they’ll weigh about the same. But clearly, one’s worth carrying and another is not.

This passage from Hebrews talks about how as we run the race of life, we need to discard the “extra baggage,” the “sin that trips us up.” Other translations read, “everything that hinders” and the “sin that so easily entangles.”

All of us have things in our lives that are burdens – heavy objects that are sometimes hard to bear. For some, it’s guilt of our past. For others, it’s the sin of the present. Still others struggle with addiction, feelings of inadequacy, or the shame of past hurtful experiences.

Every single one of us who are on this spiritual journey is carrying something. No one gets through this life without some burden, some difficulty, or some challenge. They may have ended up on our backs due to happenstance, or by the actions of others, or maybe due to our own choices. Whatever the source, in the cross, Christ shows us how faith can redeem these burdens – maybe even to turn some of the heaviest, most difficult ones from lead into gold.

For Pondering & Prayer

What burdens are you carrying today that feel really important – that are difficult but seem worthwhile? What feels like a burden that stresses you out, makes you miserable, and generally erodes your spirit? Pray for the wisdom to discern lead from gold today – to trust God to redeem what can be redeemed – and to live and act accordingly.

Prayer: God of wisdom, help us discern today between being tired and worn out. Help us to determine when the heavy things we carry have gotten too heavy for us and need to be let go. Help us see the things that are difficult but may yet prove a great blessing. Give us eyes to see what’s lead and what’s gold. Amen.

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