A Bible Reading: Matthew 11:28-30
"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."
There is something very soothing in Jesus’ words ‘Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest’. Just reading these words over again seems to bring a sense of peace! Rest is an integral part of the life God intended for us, right from the 24-hour rhythm of day and night to the third commandment to keep the sabbath holy. We all like to rest from work, whether it’s putting our feet up and watching TV or reading a good book, whether it’s going out for the evening or having an early night, whether it’s having a vacation or a staycation.
When Jesus said ‘Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ Jesus is saying that the rest that we so much seek in our lives is not to be found in a specific day, activity or holiday, but in Jesus himself; it is a gift.
We can ‘come to Jesus to find rest’ in many ways. The main way is when we first put our faith in Jesus, coming to him in repentance, receiving forgiveness for all the mess in our lives, and discovering his unconditional love for us. We can also find rest on a daily basis as we set aside time each day to pray and to reflect on the scriptures. But, I believe, there is also a rest that is available at any moment of the day, in any situation, as we focus our minds and our spirits, even momentarily, on the God who never leaves us.
This is why Jesus can continue his offer of rest by saying, ‘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.’
The ‘rest for your souls’ that Jesus offers, is not the rest of idleness, but the rest of a life of service, sharing the burden of the yoke with him and finding his rest as we walk with him, ploughing the furrow he has marked out for us.
Lord Jesus, I come to you with my tiredness and my burdens, to receive from you your gift of rest for today, for tomorrow and for eternity.