Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30
The promise: “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’”
Observation: Jesus is speaking to a group of people, encouraging them to leave behind the rituals and rules of religion and instead take rest in him. He describes his “yoke” (a metaphor he uses referring to a harness that connects two animals) as light, a stark contrast to the heavy burden of the Pharisees’ religion. Instead of the burden of religion, he offers peace to those who believe in him.
Application: Everyday life leaves me exhausted. Anyone else? As a sleep-deprived new mom, my days (and nights) leave me simultaneously bone-tired and overstimulated. There’s the feeding and the changing and the rocking and the playing and the washing. So. Much. Laundry. (How is it possible a human who weighs less than ten pounds produces more laundry than my husband and I combined?!)
Ironically enough, when I was working full-time, some days left me simultaneously bone-tired and overstimulated, too. There were the meetings and the reports and the meetings and the metrics and the planning and the meetings and the strategies. And did I mention the meetings?
I don’t think it matters who we are, what stage of life we’re in, or what we do – we could all use some rest. And not just a few extra hours of sleep – we crave real, soul rest.
Thankfully, that’s exactly what Jesus offers – real, lasting rest, not simply for our bodies but for our souls. He offers something so much better than rigid religion. He offers us life. I love the way The Message puts these few verses:
“Are you tired? (Absolutely!) Worn out? (You know it.) Burned out on religion? (Yes!) Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
This promise is so good, isn’t it? It’s like cool, refreshing water for our tired, worn out, dried up souls. This promise is an invitation, one that asks us to trade in our frantic, rigid, seemingly-impossible-to-do-it-all lives for real life in Jesus.
“Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”
Let’s lead lives defined by the unforced rhythms of grace, where we silently meditate on the goodness of our God, filling ourselves on his wonder, beauty, and grace, rather than our to-do lists and calendars and rules and external expectations.
His grace, which is wholly undeserved, is a gift, the answer to our worn down, stressed-out souls.
When we let go of our lives, we receive rest.
When we stop holding on so tightly, we get something worth taking ahold of – a free, grace-filled life with Christ Jesus as our King.
Prayer: God, thank you for your Son Jesus, the one who offers us real, soul rest. Today, we pray you’ll release us from all of the burdens and expectations that religion and the world have placed on us. Instead, let us lean into you. Help us learn the unforced rhythms of your grace. Amen.
Digging Deeper: Take a few minutes to memorize today's focus verse. Write it on a sticky note to put on your car dashboard or mirror, set it as the lock screen on your phone, say it aloud a few times throughout the day -- whatever will help make it stick.