The Rest We Need
Scripture: Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 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. Matthew 11:28-29 (NLT)
Observation: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest—Incomparable, ravishing sounds these—if ever such were heard in this weary, groaning world! What gentleness, what sweetness is there in the very style of the invitation—“Hither to Me”; and in the words, “All ye that toil and are burdened,” the universal wretchedness of man is depicted, on both its sides—the active and the passive forms of it. [Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Mt 11:28). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.]
Application: Everyone, without exception, bear heavy burdens. Sickness creeps into every home, uninvited and unwelcome. Some don’t have a job, or they have jobs that pay little, or where the conditions are unhealthy, or supervisors that mistreat them. Just about every one of us face burdens in our families with our children or our parents, with siblings, with our spouse, or with our extended families.
Today’s texts, some of the best known, best loved words of Jesus, remind us that no matter what our burdens may be, Jesus wants to lift them up off our shoulders and give us true rest. Can He give us back our dead parent, the job lost, the foreclosed home? Or is He offering to walk by our side to help us carry those burdens so we don’t have to do it alone and they don’t have to crush us?
In my practice as hospice chaplain and as grief and bereavement counselor I encouraged people who were grieving the illness or the loss of their loved one to talk, to tell me stories of their lives, to share their memories, good and bad. As I have said repeatedly to them, “Pain shared is pain divided.” When we share our pain it’s as if we’re dividing it in smaller, more bearable pieces. But it also brings others into your life who will help you carry your pain so you don’t have to do it alone.
Who better to share your pain and your burdens than Jesus who is with us wherever we go?
A Prayer You May Say: Father God, thank You that Jesus, and You, help us carry our burdens so they don’ have to crush us.
Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.