Today's Lectionary Text
Matthew 11:28-29Come 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.
The invitation from Jesus is so powerful. “Come to me and I will rest.” So many times, we seek physical rest. I have heard people complaining that they were tired and wanted to rest through a vacation, time off work and just relax from a long day’s work. Resting from hard labor is essential, and people deserve and long for it. We are spiritually exhausted from various burdens we carry along life’s journey. The heavy yoke of bondage from sin is a weighty burden we all must carry on the treadmill of life. This causes physical weariness, fatigue, and emotional exhaustion. But Jesus Christ’s invitation to, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavily laden, brings rest for the soul, providing spiritual respite.
The simplicity of Jesus’ promise is striking yet refreshing. Jesus does not offer therapy sessions, yoga, or a 12-step recovery program. Yes, these mentioned ways are appealing and helpful. The difference is that Jesus is the ultimate answer to all our burdens and life yokes. Importantly, Jesus simply offers himself as the universal solution to all that burdens us.
And his simple promise is audacious: “Come to me.” There is no cost for merely coming to Jesus. It is through the willingness of the heart and our spiritual attitudes that we come as we are with all our heavy burdens. His simple promise implies a power behind it more than sufficient to lift what weighs us down. Are you carrying a heavy burden? Come to Jesus with your burden, and you will find rest for your soul.
Yes, we carry various burdens that weigh us down from so many things: parenting, health issues, grieving our loved ones and those around us, daily obligations, and all sorts of heaviness we might encounter along life’s way.
And here is where our burdened souls are tested. Will we believe in Jesus when burdens come upon us? Will we trust Jesus as our Burden Carrier? Do we totally surrender and never look back on our burdens? Have we found rest in Jesus? Truth told, Jesus understands the nature of all burdens and invites us to come to him. The promise of rest gives us hope and asks each one of us to totally surrender burdens to God.
As the song goes, Jesus in the promise keeper, miracle worker and light in the darkness. We can all take advantage of these attributes from our Jesus. Jesus does not want our souls resting on the how and when, as if we are wise enough to understand and determine them. Rather, Jesus wants our souls resting on the surety that he will keep his promise to us in the best way according to his timing. “Come to me,” he says. “Cast your anxieties on me for I care for you. Trust in me with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding and you will find rest for your souls.”
Lessons we learn from Jesus
— Rev. Ever Mudambanuki
Nebraska City First United Methodist Church
Prayer for Reflection
O God thank you for inviting all our heavy burdens at your feet. We totally surrender every burden at the foot of the cross. Amen.
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