Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
I am exhausted…I am stressed to the limit…I am bone tired…I am running on fumes…I am on the edge of burnout…have you ever said or heard someone else say these things? We are overwhelmed by life and by our circumstances. In these situations, Jesus comes to us and invites us to lay our burdens down. But Jesus said in today’s gospel. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” We carry so many burdens. Many of us are burdened by a lack of having a job, or the threat of losing our jobs. Many of us struggle with the demands and expectations of work, family and/or school and sickness. Burdens literally weigh us down. Burdens rob us of the joy of life.
In many surveys, people say that they wish they had more free time or more time off. They wish they could just sit around and do nothing for a while and sleep in. Yet, even when we get time off we fill it with so many things to do that often when we come back from vacations just as tired, if not more so, than when we left!
Perhaps the greatest problem, however, is not the tiredness of our body, but of our souls. We have grown tired over evil in our land, over corruption and terrorism left unchecked, over the constant themes of poverty and disease and brutality. We have grown weary of the unchanging face of sin, of evildoers getting away with their deeds; we have become cynics about nearly everything from politics, to jobs; and even religion!
Our families suffer from a tiredness of soul, children grow up neglected or hurt from broken homes, parents try to fill their lives with business and extended work hours to make themselves believe they have something important to live for or to make more money. Teens don’t have direction in their lives as they don’t see anything to live for except materialism. The Bible teaches us that there is a rest for the soul even when life gets hectic, this rest is deep and refreshing and satisfies! The great secret to finding the rest that every human soul longs for is found in these first three words of Jesus’ invitation: “Come to ME!” Jesus doesn’t mess around with truth and what each soul needs; He simply declares that if you are to find “rest” for your soul there is only one place to get it…not just from Him, but in HIM!
The soul can find no rest in the things of this world, it can only be found in Christ! An eternal soul needs something eternal to rest in. If you are running around looking for relief from this world’s burdens and trial’s, you won’t find it in this world. There is no question about what you receive when you come to Christ, it is rest! Even the most perplexing events in life that can never be explained or understood cannot rob us of the rest we find in Christ! In the Philippines a local pastor shared this story: the driver of a caribou wagon was on his way to the market when he saw an old man carrying a heavy load. Taking compassion on him, the driver invited the old man to ride in the wagon. Gratefully the old man accepted! After a few minutes the driver turned to see how the old man was doing. To his surprise, he found the old man still straining under the heavy load, for he had not put it down from his shoulders! While he was on board, he still carried the weight on his own shoulders! How many people jump on board a church and become a part of it and yet never really rest in Christ and lay their burdens down?
Jesus now explains the secret to finding real rest in Him, it is to exchange the yoke the world puts on us and instead put on Christ’s yoke! The secret to rest is not inactivity…it is right activities! Jesus didn’t say “quit working”…He said to put “His yoke” on, so we will head in the right direction and when it gets tough He can do the heavy work and pulling!
There is a deeper rest than physical rest! You can be quite active and still find rest in Christ! People today are tired! There is an exhaustion of the soul that can only be refreshed IN Christ. Jesus’ invitation is very clear, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest!” How tired are you, and have you discovered God’s invitation to come and find real rest? The invitation is a good one!
God Bless You,