The well-known and oft quoted passage in Matthew 11:28-30 is one I treasure. I’m fond of Eugene Peterson’s version of it in The Message, still the one I grew up with is my favorite.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am [a]gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV
Jesus invites us to come to him for rest. He knows our weariness and offers us a more natural way of learning, transformation, and mission. How does this offer of rest fit into the purpose and our mission as the church?
In his daily meditations book called Listen to Your Life, Frederick Buechner tells a story that provokes my thoughts about Jesus’ offer of rest and our mission.
“My friend’s broken voice on the phone was a voice calling me out into that dangerous world not simply for his sake, as I suddenly saw it, but also for my sake. The shattering revelation of that moment was that true peace, the high and bidding peace that passeth all understanding, is to be had not in retreat from the battle, but only in the thick of the battle” (Buechner 22)
The Rest He Offers
Jesus is not inviting us into a rest of leisure and empty pleasure. The rest he offers is rest from our relentless search for purpose in the accumulation of material possessions, wealth, youth, beauty, status, and power. He offers us rest from futility and despair. He offers respite from aimless searching for our identities in anything and anyone besides the One who created us.
As we follow him and learn from him…as we are being made whole, we are sent out to offer the invitation to others. We do this in word and deed, by the way we live our daily ordinary lives. We work while he works in us. We cooperate with God now to restore all things on earth as it is in heaven. He’s given us the authority to do so. When we are weary of the work and the pain and sorrow we see and experience, our rest is in him, for he is with us to the very end of the age.
Photo by Gabriel Meinert on Unsplash
Marie, I appreciate your words here and agree that I too was restless in the pursuit of material things as I focused on building businesses. I realize that I was doing these things because of a culture that taught me that as the provider for my family, I was to set a hierarchy of values that put work above God and family. I believe most men find themselves there and miss out on the true blessings of building a relationship with Christ allowing us to be the spiritual head of our families.
Most recently I have taken on a challenge from a mentor David Meltzer who asks that we take the next 30 days to rise in a spirit of gratitude and before we go to sleep recognize and thank God again for all the blessings he provides. I was surprised when he said that most people will only go for 3 days before the gratitude challenge is broken. I have found that most people live in fear and that fear creates the emotions of Anger, Envy, disappointment, and many other negative emotions. Here is the wonderful news, If we take gratitude and I mean true gratitude to heart each morning and night we find that those emotions cannot exist in a body of gratitude. Have I used the word “gratitude” too many times? I am starting to realize that we can never be grateful enough for all that we have been blessed with.
Just wanted to let you know that I am thankful for you, Marie. What a wonderful blog, your message, or as I call it “Just Cause” is inspiring as are you. I hope to get to know you better as I am sure I will through your writing and our correspondence.
Thank you, Bobby. I have also added a practice of gratitude to my daily routine. I write out something I’m thankful for on a small piece of paper at the end of the day, and put it in a jar I have in my sunroom. I’ve not done it every single day but most days since the year began. At the end of the year, I will read them.
Again, thank you for sharing and taking the time to comment here. I already know what’s going on the little piece of paper tonight.