“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.” (Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)
The traditional wording of this verse, “those who labor and are heavy laden” (Matthew 11: 28, KJV), paints an accurate picture of Christ’s intent. The invitation goes out to those who labor in the service of formal religion, those who labor to satisfy or justify themselves, those who feel like they must always prove something, those who must reach that next goal, those who push and shove and drive and demand, those who are doing too much for many wrong reasons. There are many types of labor that place us in the position to be qualified for this invitation.
Think of your life and your labors.
In what ways are you burdened? Religious activity? Damaging habits? Self-hate? Depression? Guilt? Fear? Loneliness? Dependence? Confusion? Isolation? Denial? Refusal to seek help? Refusal to face reality? Refusal to accept forgiveness? Choosing very little self-care? Allowing emotions to control decisions? Abuse you received many years ago? Abuse you are still receiving? Church wounds? Pornography? Substance abuse? Side-effects of medications? Finances? Politics? Giving up? The future? Negativity? Harshness? Disorganization?
Add your own weights to the list. Add your burdens, your responses to your burdens, your method of adding new burdens to deal with burdens you’ve held a long time.
Whatever the source of weariness for you, please realize an invitation has been spoken by the gentle and humble Savior. He can alleviate the crushing load of guilt. He can calm the storm of fear. He can free us from the prison of habit.
In this long journey of life, we are people desperate for someone to do just that.
I’ll not, however, make it sound like a quick, easy, emotional high. No, it is better than that. It is taking what we are reading here, pursuing Christ in a new way, and receiving this as reality. It is a journey—a process of choosing to become better aware of ourselves, of choosing to know we are people in need of help, of choosing to obtain help from Jesus by spending time with Him rather than attempting performances for Him.
Let His first three words become our life words: Come to Me. Come, He invites us. To Him, He invites us.
In all of today’s commotion, hear Him near you. Imagine a gentle, caring, loving facial expression. Envision a smile—a true smile. See His eyes looking directly at you—not controlling but caring, not judging but inviting.
Inviting us now.