One visit left (02-07-20)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 12: 28-30)
I have an annual licence from Northants County Council that allows me to take a trailer into a recycling centre six times a year. As we enter Brixworth tip, the attendant stands in front of the car, points his phone at the vehicle registration, and after a pause announces how many visits I have left.
Tree maintenance during the winter months and lawn strimming during lockdown had resulted in a large number of heavy bags to empty. Three trailer loads would be needed, but I knew that I had only one visit left on the permit.
The trailer was loaded and transported, the registration recorded, and entry waved in. ‘How many visits are left?’ I enquired. ‘One’, was the response. ‘Thank you’, I said somewhat perplexed.
A few days later, the trailer was reloaded and transported, the registration recorded, and entrance waved in. ‘How many visits are left?’ I enquired. ‘One’, was the response. ‘Thank you’, I said, wondering if a pattern was developing.
The third load was no different. One visit remains. I haven’t returned to the tip since, and I am trying not to need to, but I feel more relaxed to know that I can visit it with any load at any time.
In a similar way I can rely on Jesus. Whenever I have a load which is too heavy to carry, I can take it to Him and he will take it from me. There is no limit to the number of loads I can take.
My usual loads are feelings of guilt. Typically, guilt arises when I realise that I have not achieved some simple act of outreach to others and which I know I could have made time for.
I don’t enjoy creating these loads for myself, and I know that forgiveness does not excuse me from trying harder in future. The help that Jesus promises is love, healing and peace with God, but not the end of our service to others.
A limitless licence from Jesus to offload my failings is more than I deserve, but I treasure the knowledge that I don’t have to ask Him each time how many visits I have left.
Dear Lord Jesus,
We thank you that, through your death on the cross, you have freed us from our sins,
so that we may never hear the words ‘Sorry, you can’t come in’.