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.
I want you to imagine yourself with Jesus on this hillside as he preached to a crowd hanging on his every word. It has been said that Jesus’ teaching was unlike anything the crowds had ever heard before. Jesus was inviting them and us to simply come along with him on this journey of life – to experience our days through his life lens, as we learn from him. There is a particular paraphrase of this Scripture that resonates with me:
“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.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)
For all of you who love the etymology of words, the first sentence is in the middle voice in Greek, and the best translation is “Come unto me all you who have heavily burdened yourselves.” Wow, how many times have I been the one to burden myself?
Dallas Willard, one of my professors, once quipped: “I must be willing to be uncomfortable for a while if I wish to be released from whatever it is that has bound me.” I am beginning to realize that most of my heavy burdens have been self-imposed — and it is more than time to let them go.
These days, I’m taking pretty seriously Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me . . . learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” As I keep company with Jesus daily, I will learn to live freely and lightly.
Prayer Focus: For those who need to unburden themselves
Prayer: Gracious One, help us to surrender the burdens we have placed upon ourselves, knowing that your power is made perfect in our weakness and your grace is more than we could ever need. For it is your grace and enduring compassion that lift us up, unburden our souls, and bless us with the peace you alone can give. In the ways of Jesus. Amen.