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In Matthew chapter 11:28-30, Jesus notes, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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 will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, New International Version).
If you were anything like me growing up, you heard this verse quoted over and over again.
“Don’t worry, Amber. If you are weary, run to Jesus.”
“Tired? Take on Jesus’ burden.”
“Weak? That is how you will be made strong.”
While all of those statements are true, that I should not worry, I need to run to Jesus, and taking on His burden will bring me rest, implementing and understanding them in my life has proved to be a struggle.
How do I run to Jesus when I am weary and can barely walk?
How do I take on Jesus’ burden when I am already exhausted and weary?
How do I become strong when all I really feel is weak?
When Jesus told His Disciples (and us) to come to Him, I want to clarify three things He said and three things He did not.
- Jesus said if you are weak and weary to come to Him. He did not say to run to Him, He simply said come.
- Jesus said if we are weak and weary that He will give us rest. We probably experience feelings of apathy and tiredness so that we will learn to depend on Him.
- Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He did not say that the yoke and burden you are carrying on your own is easy or light.
What does this rest mean?
If we have clarified these three beliefs, then what does this eternal rest mean, and how do we find it?
- When we are weak, physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, you name it, we first have to be open to allowing God to move, work, and reveal Himself in our lives. God reveals Himself to those who hunger and thirst for Him and His righteousness.
- Pray: Lord, we are running to you with weak and weary arms. Maybe some of us are walking. Perhaps, we are even crawling. But we are coming to you for strength. Let us rest in the presence of your wings and use our weaknesses to reveal your strength as you restore and make new.
- We acknowledge that we are weary and battle-weary.
- For myself, I currently do feel physically and mentally weak. Post-COVID-19 fatigue is draining, and I am frustrated. My mind is shot, overwhelmed with download overload. But you, O Lord are strong. And in your Name, we pray and surrender that when we are weak, then we are strong. Not because we feel strong, but because we will sing that over ourselves until we believe its power.
- Pray: Lord, this is my messy, broken, and ugly heart. I long for you alone and your rest. Your Word says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NIV), and I will speak that until it becomes true.
I Hear the Spirit Say
Today, no matter what type of rest you are looking for, I hope that you realize ultimate and fulfilling rest comes from Christ alone. There is no other source, person, or activity you can run to, no social media gorge, or Netflix binge that will provide what your soul actively requires.
It is not easy to run to a person you cannot see.
But when we find ourselves in the shadow of His presence, in the stillness of His Word, and in the prayer of His intimacy, rest begins to speak:
I hear the Spirit say, “come to me all you who have placed laws, rules, restrictions, and limitations on yourself. All you who are physically, mentally, socially, environmentally ill. It doesn’t matter what kind of rest you need, I am your rest. I am rest. I am because I am.”
Jesus whispers, “Come to me those of you who are tired past tired. Burnout past burnt out. Come, those who have been fed lies, listened to lies, or are living lies as truth.”
He soothes, “Come to me those who are burdened with fear, anxiety, and doubts that never end. Just come to me. Walk, crawl, run, you name it. Come.”
And here we are, Lord. Weary and burdened. But we come to you. Because you not only are rest, but you give it. It is you who gives us deep and satisfying rest from within our souls, and no one and nothing else will satisfy.
I’m learning now, that rest with a person you cannot see feels a little bit strange. I feel odd sitting on my bed, kneeling on my floor, or driving my car and seeking rest.
But when Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,” we take His yoke in exchange for our own. For there is so much yet to learn from rest Himself. And we do so, because “I am gentle and humble in heart,” and He only desires to be gentle and humble to those with weak and weary states of hearts. “And you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29, NIV).
It is only when we lay down our self-imposed yokes for His, and trust and believe in His rest that we learn from what Jesus has to offer.
When we attach ourselves to Him, we realize that because of who He is, how could He offer anything greater than peace to this anarchy of a world? We find rest in who He is, gentle and humble, and the yoke His peace brings us.
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30, NIV, emphasis added).
He never said our yoke was easy, or our burden was light, He said His was.
Let Us Pray
Dear Jesus, your yoke is not slavery or stress. Your burdens are not heavy, legalizing lists of legalism, rules, and productive obsessions. Your yoke is to tie ourselves to you, so that we may become more like you.
Your burden is to be salt and light to the world, not worried about how heavy the salt is or how costly the light bulbs are going to be when they come out of our paychecks.
Your yoke is easy, Lord because you take all our cares in exchange for peace.
Your burdens are light, because you remove self-imposed ones we lay on ourselves, and help us carry the ones you call us to carry.
We want your yoke and burdens, and not the ones of this world. Amen.
If you are weak and weary, my friend, look up. God never intended for us to kill ourselves with productivity, titles, degrees, trophies, and burdens. He intended for us to rest, breathe, and live in Him. Those are the yokes He asks us to bind ourselves to, and the burdens we are responsible to carry.