“Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
Do any of you feel weary? Are any of you burdened? Are you tired? Stressed out? Overwhelmed? Frazzled? A hot mess?
Join the club.
Truth be told, I am too.
I have been meaning to sit down and write for weeks now, but teaching back at University has started back up, conferences in the USA, my life is hectic, to say the least. Each day I plan out my day, leaving time in the evenings for other things such as writing. And many evenings I look at my computer, sigh and tell myself, “I’m just too tired. I need to rest for a minute first,” I sometimes don't open my Bible because that takes too much mental power, so I turn on the TV or open a book and my computer sits silent and my Bible stays closed. I don’t write much. And I go to bed still feeling tired and like I let Jesus down.
Then today it hit me, an ah-ha moment, this verse from Matthew. I haven’t let Jesus down because I am weary or tired, He expects life to be wearisome. He KNOWS we will be weary. He knows we will be tired and overcommitted. I haven’t let Him down because I feel burdened, He KNOWS life will be burdensome and stressful. The fact that most of the time I am a hot mess does not disappoint Him!
But I do let Him down when I don’t turn to Him for rest. He said it as plainly as He could “I will give you rest.” Yet somewhere along the lines, I got it in my head that Jesus is work. That loving Him is hard and stressful and demanding. And I would be so much better off “resting” with a ridiculous sitcom or some other TV.
He told us that when we get overwhelmed, and we will get overwhelmed, we should go to Him and we would find rest and peace, not work or demands. In fact, He was quite clear about this. He goes on in Matthew 11:29-30 to say that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. A little ancient Jewish history real quick… the Greek word for “yoke” here is zygos which means “to load down with obligations.” You might be thinking oxen here, but that’s just one use of the term. In Jesus' day each Rabbi, or Jewish leader, had their own set of “rules” or “obligations”, the parts of the law that they specifically emphasized, that they felt were the “important” ones to follow, these were known as their “yokes”.
Some yokes or “a load of obligations” that some of the Rabbis laid out were really quite laborious, nearly impossible to complete, burdensome, you could say. But Jesus in the eleventh chapter of Matthew tells His followers that HIS yoke is easy, the burden HE puts on them is light. He tells us that He is gentle in spirit and in Him you can find rest for your soul. Doesn’t the very idea of that make you breathe easier? Doesn’t it sound like absolute heaven? Rest for my soul! Really? Does such a thing exist? Because I have never found that in any show I have ever watched or any novel or self-help book I have read.
The truth is, those things will never bring me the rest, the peace or the calm my soul needs. They just won’t. Yes, they are mindless, you might (might) even be able to convince me they are harmless. Certainly, they are entertaining, and I am not trying to make you feel guilty for anything you like to watch, but you should know, that is not where you will find rest for your soul.
There is only one place you will ever find that. In Him.