Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Life can be exhausting at times. In Ecclesiastes 1 the writer laments, “All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” We have all experienced times in life when we become exhausted or maddened by the repetition of life. It’s in times like those that the “rest” Jesus speaks of in Matthew 11 fill us with hope. What is this rest for the soul that he spoke of and more importantly how do we become truly rested?
If we pay attention to the details of what Jesus is saying in Matthew 11 we find some intriguing hints that might help us. After inviting all who are tired, Jesus invites us to take his yoke and learn from him. Jesus is contrasting his teaching from that of the religious leaders of the day. Their teaching added rules and regulations but Jesus’ teaching was light weight. Jesus says, “learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart.” Jesus’ invitation is to weakness and humility. He invites us to live life with a white flag raise all the time. Embrace our finite natures and be weak. We learn from Philippians 2 that Jesus did not live by the power of his Godness but by humbly submitting to the God the Father. He invites us to the same weakness required to trust.
What qualifies you for the rest that Jesus offers? Be weak! I remember the first time this passage lit up for me. I was feeling so discouraged by my many failures and sins. I could not seem to defeat the many sins I was battling and I was exhausted. When I realized that my weakness was what qualified me for God’s rest, I was overjoyed. The only thing I felt good at was being weak and that is what qualified me for rest. It was as if the burden lifted from my shoulders immediately after I embraced my weakness. Embrace the exhaustion and weakness and trust. It’s the path to true rest. Listen to the song First by Lauren Daigle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbWQV3OiRqA and let yourself rest in Him first.
By Aaron Bjorklund