“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” Matthew 11:28-30.
Overworked, weary, exhausted? Pick me, pick me!
Do those verses resonate within you? They strike a chord deep inside my soul. The word “weary” could also be translated “work to exhaustion.” That is me so much of the time. Exhausted. Worn out. Weary of the treadmill of life. Long nights and even longer days. Have you been there?
And “heavy-laden”- that means “to load up” or “overburden.” Do you feel “loaded up” with burdens, with cares, with responsibilities? It’s just the nature of life to carry burdens. Whatever the job description, responsibilities and “burdens” come with the territory.
A while back, I made a list of the “sea of demands” weighing on me…teaching my kids, preparing meals and snacks, laundry, cleaning, errands, activities, friendships. I should be investing in people outside my home. I should be a fun mom (who doesn’t care if they spill sugar on the floor when they want to help cook.) I should have my kids’ friends over and do crafts with them. I should invite people to our home for dinner. I should have a cleaning routine. I should cook healthier food. I should learn to coupon. I should potty train soon so we can stop paying for diapers. And on top of it all, I should be making time for daily prayer and Bible study. But how, oh how, is one person to do it all?
Into this chaos and craziness comes a gentle invitation. “If you’re weary and overworked, come to Me. I will give you rest.”
It’s interesting to note that He doesn’t confine this invitation to a certain scheduled time of day – “If you come meet with Me every morning, you will find rest.” Instead He invites me to get in the “yoke” with Him, to walk with Him every. single. moment. The picture is that of two animals fastened together, working in sync to pull a cart or a plow. When I am connected to Him , He carries the weight of my burdens. The work He calls me to do, He does with me and through me because I’m in the yoke with Him. (John 15 calls this “abiding in Him”.)
In addition to “taking His yoke,” He invites me to learn from Him. The weight of the plow is made lighter as the two oxen walk in step. Similarly, as I learn to become more like Jesus, I am falling into step with Him.
Of all His attributes, He chose to list here His gentleness and humility. Biblical gentleness is not just a personality trait that comes naturally for some and not for others. It is “that attitude of the spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good and do not dispute or resist…It is a condition of mind and heart that demonstrates gentleness not in weakness but in power. It is a virtue born in strength of character.”* It is “the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation…This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of human will (Galatians 5:23).”**
Jesus was gentle and humble. His heart was at rest. As we walk with Him and learn from Him, our hearts can rest, too.
Please don’t misunderstand me. Concentrated, set-aside time alone with Him is vital. We learn of Him and become like Him by studying His Word and talking with Him in prayer. How precious and life-giving is His Word (Psalm 119:97)!
But God is not confined to our alone times with Him. He wants to walk with us and show us how to apply His Word in the moment-by-moment grind of life. He wants all of life to be worship, not just set aside times of singing or studying or praying. His yoke is easy and His burden is light because He carries the weight of it for us! He wants us to rest, even in the midst of life’s struggles. His heart toward us is good. His love for us is unfathomable.
Do you need rest? Come to Jesus. Share His yoke. Learn from Him. And find rest.
*Lexical Aids to the New Testament from the Key Word Study Bible
**Blue Letter Bible Lexicon