A burden is defined as a load of labor, duty, responsibility, blame, sin, sorrow.Oxford English Dictionary
  To burden is to load; to lay on a heavy load; to incumber with weight. Hence, to oppress with any thing grievous; as, to burden a nation with taxes; to surcharge; as, to burden the memory.Oxford English Dictionary

“Although it be agreeable to reason to take a share of a burden,
it is not a duty to take it away.”–Pythagoras

  Some souls live a life that becomes a burden to them: Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: and he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.–Genesis 49:14-15.
  The Old Testament refers to prophecy as being a burden of the Lord, a task for God to complete through you. Feeling burdened leads to doubt and fear; it is an initiation. The feeling that you are burdened is the tell-tale warning of self-pity and martyrdom.
  You would be wiser to ascend in consciousness to cast that burden upon the Lord’s altar in exchange for His weightless Light. Thus, the sense of being burdened is an invitation to change your reaction.

Edna Lister on Burdens

"Every man’s words shall be his burden."–Jeremiah 23:36, so make yours as light as a balloon.–Edna Lister, Prayer, the Broad Highway, May 15, 1935

Stumbling blocks are hurdles to cross. Do not grow weary or discouraged. The next time you will be stronger and it will be easier to do.–Edna Lister, Daring to Do, October 18, 1936

You may not leave the burden of lifting to just a few others, for each must lift fully to grow in lifting ability.–Edna Lister, July 15, 1938

On the Via Christa, you must be strong to bear another’s burden at need.–Edna Lister, August 22, 1938

Beware lukewarmness, which will lure you with thoughts of needed rest, ideas of overwork, of bearing too great a burden.–Edna Lister, October 27, 1938

You become a candidate for higher initiations according to your ability to bear burdens, assume responsibility and to be obedient to law.–Edna Lister, October 31, 1938

The reward is great for bearing the load through the heat of the day.–Edna Lister, November 20, 1938

"Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."–Matthew 7:14. Those who think to carry a heavy load of darkness through the Gates of Light into heaven shall be amazed and chagrined, but shall find themselves locked outside the gates.–Edna Lister, January 23, 1939

Give up all burdens to be changed into Light.–Edna Lister, February 3, 1939

When you cause another to carry a load, you must also carry a load.–Edna Lister, August 30, 1939

Eliminate that which is anchor, burden, or bondage.–Edna Lister, December 11, 1939

Light is your burden and companion forever.–Edna Lister, August 9, 1940

If each carries the whole load and is determined to lift, the burdens of all will be lighter on the outer. It works that way.–Edna Lister, October 22, 1940

The burden of personal responsibility is heavy to bear when carried subconsciously as guilt.–Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941

Each sacrifice of self that you make converts your burden into pure Light, which has no weight nor any darkness. This is what Jesus meant when he said, Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.–Matthew 11:29-30. Each sacrifice of self yokes you to the Light of the Christ, which pulls you home.–Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941

No one is responsible for another’s burden forever, only to love and stand until the other comes up in consciousness.–Edna Lister, January 2, 1942

"Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."–Matthew 18:6. The millstone perfectly describes the burden of self. It is your choice to be burdened by self, or to be free.–Edna Lister, The Millstone, March 1, 1942

You take up your burdens, duties and plans, but only as if they belonged to God, nothing of your own. Handle them in honor and love, loyalty and joy, as His.–Edna Lister, November 18, 1942.

Feeling as though you bear a heavy burden means that you have not surrendered it to God so that He may make it Light.–Edna Lister, December 1, 1942

When you lift your burdens to the Master, he makes them pure Light.–Edna Lister, May 3, 1943

When burdens grow too great to bear, stand and let love flow through and from you.–Edna Lister, December 18, 1943

Lay all burdens of earth in God’s hands and let love lead you.–Edna Lister, May 19, 1944

Love lifts all burdens.–Edna Lister, November 27, 1944

God never burdens you beyond your ability to conquer.–Edna Lister, July 6, 1945

To overcome the world means to carry all blame, all burdens, never seeking for self, never asking credit, a complete silence about self.–Edna Lister, March 5, 1947

Mastery is an ever-increasing responsibility, for when God favors you, He places heavy burdens of the world upon you for lifting. God’s favor means you are always dependable to release Power under sudden need to hold earth in balance.–Edna Lister, December 8, 1947

The law is to bear and to forbear, to stand in love while bearing each other’s burdens. Bearing means to lift the burden of the world. Forbearing means to bear for another.–Edna Lister, July 28, 1948

"Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."–Hebrews 12:6. God tries the soul for "temper," the ability to bear strain and burden.–Edna Lister, February 3, 1949

Love your enemies until your cross becomes a burden of Light.–Edna Lister, The Golden Chalice, September 21, 1952

Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Love is Light, the strongest element in the universe, yet gossamer and you may bear it without a burden.–Edna Lister, Prayer, the Soul’s Aspiration, June 7, 1953

God never burdens you beyond your capacity. Yet Light must absorb every jot and tittle of darkness, and He does need souls to serve as transforming stations on earth for lifting.–Edna Lister, October 19, 1953

When you feel burdened, your back, neck or shoulders begin to ache.–Edna Lister, March 29, 1954

Love lifts all your burdens.–Edna Lister, April 12, 1954

You may not put a burden on another greater than he can bear.–Edna Lister, November 21, 1954

When you surrender and lift self, Light frees you of your past limitations and burdens of crystallized debts.–Edna Lister, January 6, 1955

You ought not to put trust in another, whose discretion is a leaky sieve, nor may you burden another with confidences past their ability to hold them private.–Edna Lister, Rose-colored Glasses, April 22, 1956

Mother Love is never sentimental or weak, but the strongest power in the universe, gossamer and light, easy to carry, no burden at all. Self-love is the heaviest burden in the world. It rides the soul with a whip and spurs, until it finally collapses of its own weight, which the world calls a nervous breakdown.–Edna Lister, Nourishing Love, May 13, 1956

Forbearing means to lift up burdens of love.–Edna Lister, Go Preach the Gospel, July 22, 1956

Follow the Master, who said, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" or the power of love.–Edna Lister, Your Devotion to God, December 16, 1956

You are supposed to pay all debts to law contracted every twenty-four hours. When any soul fails to care for his own, all Elect must bear an added burden. You must pay debts daily. You must balance each day’s books.–Edna Lister, January 14, 1957

A skull-bumper in consciousness eventually becomes a burden to others.–Edna Lister, February 5, 1957

Law and honor oblige you to relieve debt-burdened souls, so look around to find what and whom to lift.–Edna Lister, September 30, 1957

You bear with others; to bear means to bear the burden of lifting for another until Light fills you both. You bear the burden for God, not for other people, then your yoke is easy and the burden is Light.–Edna Lister, The Bond of Spirit, October 6, 1957

Self is the heaviest burden anyone can carry.–Edna Lister, As the World Sees Me, June 22, 1958

Law is exact and only harsh when you have turned your back on it in pity for your self as having too many burdens.–Edna Lister, February 23, 1959

Love says, "Share and share alike." Sharing includes the burdens with the pies.–Edna Lister, Idealization, May 10, 1959

Self feels bound and burdened when it is not free to do as it pleases. You carry all your burdens on the back of your little self.–Edna Lister, Your Philosophy of Freedom, June 28, 1959

Never say "my" to what you do not want, for instance, "my pain, my problem, my burden."–Edna Lister, October 15, 1959

Do not put a law upon the back of a Neophyte that will impose too great a burden for him to bear, causing him to make vows that he inevitably must break for lack of experience, imperfection of desire, and a vibration not yet raised high enough nor tempered to fit high vow demands.–Edna Lister, October 30, 1959

Life always puts the burden on the shoulders strong enough to bear it.–Edna Lister, Feed My Sheep, November 22, 1959

God must place the burdens of the world upon those whose shoulders are broad enough, for only the strong ones can carry the load or bear the gift to the altar. Great is the reward for this service.–Edna Lister, May 6, 1960

God places the burdens of earth upon His beloved strong ones, for they can bear the burden. The strong do not seek escape, but to conquer.–Edna Lister, June 9, 1960

Jesus never told us how hard it would be to lift that burden of self up and onto the altar. To be healed, you must go up, and stay up in consciousness. Fill your consciousness with the love of God so the burden will not return.–Edna Lister, What Is Your Measure of Power, June 12, 1960

Your words become either your burden or your wings of glory.–Edna Lister, Miracles Through Comprehension, July 10, 1960

Martyrdom is simply the dregs of self to be lifted. You take it on in high vows, then get tired and weep. Love God. Ask for more love and joy to give, to express.–Edna Lister, January 6, 1961

When you free a person to go his own way, you feel as though a great burden has been lifted.–Edna Lister, September 7, 1961

A person who looks gray carries others’ burdens with him.–Edna Lister, April 8, 1962

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I AM meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”–Matthew 11:29-30

Repudiation of burdens is the source of life’s pain.–Edna Lister, April 9, 1962

The strong have what it takes, for they lift what is sent to them, and assume responsibility without thinking it a burden.–Edna Lister, June 10, 1963

One great initiation always involves shouldering another’s burden; you achieve success when you stand without dropping the burden until God removes it.–Edna Lister, June 4, 1964

There must always be one, unfaltering, steadfast, awake, alive and alert to take on the burden of Light.–Edna Lister, August 23, 1964

You notice burdens only when you entertain inner conflict.–Edna Lister, December 14, 1964

Self-pity is the heaviest burden on earth, and always collapses under its own weight. Self-pity is heavier than steel, the most burdensome emotion.–Edna Lister, Appreciation Is a Love Affair With God, May 16, 1965

Keep burdens lifted in Light; bind them to the altar with cords of Light so they can’t fall off and hit you on the head.–Edna Lister, November 1, 1965

Do not let the outer burdens of time, effort, fatigue and weariness interfere with your ascension.–Edna Lister, December 15, 1965.

Temptation is putting a burden on any soul’s back greater than he can bear.–Edna Lister, January 12, 1966

Without joy and enthusiasm, you grow lukewarm and indifferent; every duty becomes a burdensome weight.–Edna Lister, What Does Ascension Mean to You? May 19, 1968

You "wait upon the Lord" by standing still and letting God do the work for you, placing your burden upon an altar of Light, knowing that the Light invoked from the Source can absorb the weight of any burden.–Edna Lister, Faith in Action, 1968

Do not burden another with more than he can carry; apply a just appraisal, or you become a tempter, which delays your miracle.–Edna Lister, November 7, 1968

Why do you think you must "pay" when lifting would free you from the burden?–Edna Lister, Victory: Using Your Magic Wand, May 24, 1970

When there is that which seems a burden, put it up and let God make it Light.–Edna Lister, January 17, 1971

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New Testament on Burdens

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I AM meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.–Matthew 11:28-30

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.–Matthew 23:1-4

Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.–Luke 11:46

Which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.–Luke 17:10 [You receive no greater reward for doing your duty.]

He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.–2 Corinthians 4:14-18

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.–Galatians 6:1-5

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Old Testament on Burdens

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.–Psalm 55:22

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of burden: Old English byrthen, burden.

Burdens are a warning sign and an initiation


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.