Jesus Will Give You Rest

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”–Matthew 11:28 (NLT). 

“Oh, what I would do for just a little rest!”

Have you said that to yourself recently? Many of us are burning our candles at both ends and need some rest. Jesus taught us what we need to do to have rest, but are we ready to do it?

Without proper rest, we become tired and empty. Jesus loves us too much to want us tired and empty, so He gives us the “low-down” on rest. 
 
Before we get started, let’s look at some “rest basics” so we clearly understand Jesus’ teaching on rest.

First, there are two kinds of rest.  If we mix them up, we will miss out on the rest Jesus promises. Second, there is a God-designed balance for rest. If our rest gets out of balance, we will be in trouble as well. But when we subject our rest to Jesus’ fine-tuning, He can replace our weariness and burdens with eternal, seven-days-a-week rest. Interested?  Let’s move on to the first kind of rest.   
 
Sabbath Rest

God created the universe and all that is in it during six work-filled days. On the seventh day, He rested (Genesis 2:2). In so doing, He modeled for us the importance of resting from work. In His law, God separated one day a week from the others to rest (Exodus 20: 9-10). When we hear the word “rest,” Sabbath rest is what we usually think of—relaxing and not working. Getting too much of this kind of rest is not good for us—it makes us weak from inactivity. But when we get too little rest, we suffer “burnout.” Sabbath rest is for one day out of seven.  Taking more or less than this will prohibit us from experiencing everything else God offers in the other six days. It is the six-day version of rest that Jesus focuses on in our passage. So let’s call it . . .

“Come to Me” Rest

“Come to Me” rest is not resting from work, but resting in work.  We can do this by stopping work that isn’t eternally significant and replacing it with work that is. In this way we can fill our six days with both work and rest.

What is the key to finding eternally significant work?

What is the yoke? Jesus’ teaching.

How do we get it? We come to Jesus. 

Doing eternally significant work requires eternal equipment. Jesus uses the analogy of an oxen’s yoke to describe this equipment (Matthew 11:29). An ill-fitting yoke would make things difficult for the oxen pulling a plow or a load. Using the perfectly fitting yoke Jesus offers makes work a joy, because it makes us much more effective at the eternally significant work He calls us to do!
 
What is the yoke? Jesus’ teaching.

How do we get it? We come to Jesus. 

Now, many of us may come to Jesus like this: “OK, Jesus, here I am. Give me my yoke, and I’ll be on my way.” But taking this approach will make us feel as weary and burdened as ever. What’s important about coming to Jesus for rest is not just that we come, but how we come. Many people came to Jesus throughout His ministry on earth. Some left with rest and others didn’t.

What made the difference? The willingness to change.
 
Religious leaders came to Jesus to argue with Him and criticize Him. They didn’t want the power of His teaching to change them. These folks didn’t get any rest from Jesus at all; on the contrary, Jesus seemed to stress them out! Jesus taught that coming to Him required being ready to change; that means coming with humble and repentant hearts, childlike and trusting (Matthew 11:25).

Why is this?

It’s in the yoke.
 
Jesus promises that His yoke will fit perfectly. But His yoke is not designed to fit us as we are. The yoke only fits perfectly if we allow His teaching to conform us to the yoke’s necessary design. Otherwise, the yoke will remain ill-fitting; the work we do will be hard, and we will grow weary. Remember, Jesus does not promise to free us from burdens, but to replace them with burdens that are light. His yoke will be perfectly fitted for the task, and if we allow His teaching to change us, we will be perfectly fitted for the yoke. We may actually be carrying far heavier burdens than ever before, but they will feel light. This is because we have come to Jesus, and we have been changed. That’s the truth.

Come to Me. If you do, I will guide you toward work in which you will find rest. If you do I will changeyou to perfectly fit the yoke that is perfectly fitted for this work.  If you do, you will cease being weary and burdened for I will give you rest.  (Don’t forget to rest from all work on the Sabbath. That’s important, too.)
That’s the YouTruth. Jesus will give you rest.

 

© 2009,2011 Dan Buckhout

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