“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.” NRSV
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” The Message
Come to Me
Come to me . . . such an invitation, such a welcome – who could imagine it?
But the invitation is not for everyone, for the very simple reason that not everyone needs this invitation – or do they? Who is to come? The weary . . . the burdened among us . . . all of them . . . all of us . . .
kopiao – to become weary or tired. Or to exert one’s self – to strive, to toil, to work hard, to struggle.
Maybe it’s the hard workers among us . . . or the strivers . . . the strugglers . . . or maybe it’s just the soul- and bone-weary . . .
Tired of thinking about the problems for which you have no solutions?
Weary of the cares and burdens that aren’t even yours?
Soul-sighingly broken by the blindness of others?
At the end of your own rope and the rope of all your neighbors?
Come to me, says Jesus. Like a cool drink of water on a hot day . . . like a gentle breeze on a still summer’s day when nothing is moving . . . like a soft cushion between your head and the hard ground . . . come to me – and I . . .
I . . . not your worries . . . your plans . . . your efforts . . . your demands . . . even your prayers and good works and unending attempts to change . . . no – none of that – I and only I . . . will give you rest.
Give you – notice – you do . . . not . . . have . . . to . . . work . . . for . . . it.
It is yours – because I give it to you, this rest.
It is my gift.
You don’t earn it.
You don’t create it.
You don’t . . . you can’t . . . make it happen.
But you can fall in to it. Surrender for it. Live better through it.
What is this ‘thing’ Jesus will give, if we but come to him?
Refreshment . . . respite . . . reviving life . . . sabbath . . . how, then would it be, if we understood life as the act of resting in to the Lord? Of falling into God’s embrace? Of soul-surrendering in to the cushion of God’s love?
This divine offer of rest is a real, tangible, physical thing. We all carry our tensions in our bodies somewhere. Me? Usually it’s my shoulders. How about you? Where do you carry your tensions? For some, it’s the chest – where that tight feeling that sometimes makes it hard to breathe resides. For others, maybe it’s the jaw – clenched against what might be coming.
Or the hands similarly clenched until the muscles ache with tension. It might even be in our hair.
Wherever we carry our burdens, there, says Jesus, will he be – lightening the load, offering kindness, providing rest, if we but come.
Sure, fine, but then what?
Take my yoke . . . it is not switching one yoke, one work, one burden, for another. Oh no, it is not that. Take the yoke I offer, says Jesus – the yoke being a thing of uniting – as two animals are bound physically to do their work in tandem, together, side-by-side.
To take on the yoke of Christ, then, might be understood to be coming alongside this Jesus - working, walking, sharing with this Christ – and in the sharing, the burden is made light – of little weight, as Jesus carries his half and a good bit of yours too.
And in the lessening of the load, there, then, is rest.