Friday, August 31, 2012

Rest


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30


Jesus opens wide his loving arms. He knows I've been trying to get by on my own (laboring). He sees me straining and stressed out believing that it's all up to me and falling for the lie that says if I don't carry it all everything will fall apart. He hears my groaning as I exert my own effort and energy and he can tell that because of my straining and striving I am oppressed and encumbered by the sheer weight of my load.

Which begs the question, what load? What am I weighed down with? While I can get overwhelmed with my schedule and my to do list, what tends to weigh me down more than anything?

Could it be that more than my tasks, what's really weighing me down is my guilt, shame, and the sin that so easily entangles me? You see, my problem is not necessarily my "to do" list although that can tend to take on a life of it's own.

No, my problem is not "out there". My problem is inside of me. I could blame the list or the myriad of responsibilities I have, but the real culprit is my heart.

But you say, "Isn't the fact that you have too much to do and not enough hours to do it all in the real issue?". While an over scheduled life can certainly be cause for concern and weariness, the real and deeper problem underneath is a heart condition.

Jesus says "I will give you rest". I don't have the ability to give it to myself. If I did I would have done it already! How many times have I tried to unload my burden, take a break from it all, or settle myself down...to no avail? Jesus is telling me not only does he have rest to give, but he is able. By his power, his infinite and inexhaustible rest is mine. Because I am in Christ, rest is mine - right now, free and lavishly given! I don't have to strive to find it or work more hours to earn it. Jesus didn't give me a list of requirements to fulfill before I come. He simply said, "come".

Think about the last time you worked hard around the house all day. You got to check off those over due home projects like cleaning the garage or working on the lawn. Then, the day ended and you were finally able to sit down with the sweat still on your brow. You said to yourself or your spouse - "whew! I'm done. I deserve a break and a chance to rest for the night - I've earned it".




Thanks be to God that we enter into his rest freely. No work quotient necessary.

We bring to the Lord our hearts - heavy laden as they are. We bring to him our burdened soul, weighed down and struggling. We bring all our shame and guilt over things we've done and words we've spoken. We bring the worst of who we are, the things only our hearts know because we couldn't bear to speak about them. There, right there in that moment, we find rest. It is there that Jesus speaks with all the authority as Lord of heaven and earth, yet with all the gentleness and lowliness of a shepherd. "I will care for you, your heart is safe with me, I can handle all if it because I love you more than you can imagine. I know the places you've been and the wanderings of your heart and the self-effort you've put forth and what I have for you is so much better."

Jesus says "Come...and you will find rest for your souls."


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