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If you are overloaded or out of energy, this may be what you need to hear.

Paired together

The main way God gives rest is showing you how to work. This is a principle is woven throughout Scripture. From Genesis and Torah, to Proverbs, and in the New Testament; rest and work are paired together. You cannot expect rest without work. Likewise, you cannot work at your best without rest. Do you find yourself failing at one or both?

Jesus on work and rest

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus combines these seemingly disparate issues of rest and work. Here is the text:

“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.”

It is a promise

Jesus gives rest. It is a promise. I will give you rest. In fact, he repeats the promise, but shifts it to our vantage point: you will find rest for your souls. I will give and you will find. But the way he gives rest and the way we find rest is set in a surprising context. It is situated in work.

3 invitations

As I have meditated on these verses, I have noticed 3 invitations. I see a link with all 3 to the way he shows how to work.

  1. Come to me
  2. Take my yoke
  3. Learn from me

Come to, not go do

The 1st is come to me. Personal pronouns dominate these verses. I think this highlights Jesus’ divinity. These are not the words of a mere man. God, the maker and master of the universe, is saying this. Before he says go do, he says come to. Have you come to Jesus lately? If you are trying to go do work, even if it’s for him, before coming to him, you are working out-of-order. If you are working out-of-order, it is no surprise you are weary and burdened. Jesus’ invitation to you is, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Team up with me

The 2nd invitation is take my yoke. He isn’t referring to eggs here. A yoke is a farm tool that makes the work easier. This imagery makes this a wonderful invitation. Who wouldn’t want to be teamed up with the maker and master of the universe? Sadly, I don’t sometimes. My stubbornness and arrogance causes me to plow ahead on my own. I want to go my own way, so I work in my own strength. As you can imagine, there is no rest in that. Jesus’ invitation is so generous. He even adds to the imagery, stating how his yoke is easy and light, which is perhaps best translated as kindly and a perfect fit.

Rest through work

Notice that Jesus is still retaining the element of work here. He is offering a different approach, though. Instead of moving out on my own, in my own strength, and in my own direction, he wants to work together. There is still a yoke. There is still a burden. We still must take action to come, take, and learn. But in partnership with him, this activity results in rest for the soul.

Learn his character

I just mentioned the 3rd invitation. Jesus invites us to learn from him. There are not many times where God describes himself. We see him in action a lot, from which we can draw character sketches. And other writers throughout Scripture describe who is. But I love having a description in his own words. And what a beautiful portrait he gives. Jesus says he is gentle and humble in heart. I don’t know about you, but I always need more lessons in gentleness and humility. Besides that, who wouldn’t want to be teamed up with someone you know is gentle and humble?

They are for you

Are you working this way? Is there any area in your life which you are out of energy? Is your strength tapped and you are feeling weary? Whether you have allowed it or not, have others piled their burdens on your back and you lack the strength to go on? Consider Jesus’ invitations. They are for you. You will not find rest by running away or running harder. Come to Jesus, take his yoke, and learn who he is. He promises, you will find the rest you are looking for, rest for your soul.

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