Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Solution to a Stressed Out Life

Readings for the Day
1 Samuel 28-29; Psalm 109; Matthew 11

Verses for the Day:
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

How could I pass up these verses for they give us insight to Jesus' call to us as his disciples. I love Eugene Peterson's "The Message" translation of these verses. He says, “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.”

Usually we think of rest in terms of physical rest, which of course is necessary. But Jesus addresses a different kind of stress today. The stress of putting forth enough religious activity to appease God, which leaves us tired and unsatisfied. Jesus has in mind a different type of relationship with us. The metaphor Matthew uses is that of the yoke of an oxen. A yoke linked two oxen together, so they could pull the plow in the field together.

Jesus says, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." Simply said, Jesus wants to pull the plow with us. While it is work, we are not alone in it. When we try to do it on our own through religiosity, it leaves us burdened and weary. As we realize that Jesus has carried our burdens to the cross, we can find rest for our souls. Such begins the life of discipleship, the life of walking and pulling the plow with Jesus. Or as the passage says, "work with me, walk with me, watch how I do it."

So here is the balance. When we try to do it all by ourselves we get burnt out, tired out and aren't very effective. But on the other hand we don't say, "Okay Jesus you do all the pulling, I will just watch you do it." It is a relationship. Jesus is the master, we are the student. Jesus teaches us in the "school of life". When Jesus calls us to follow him, he invites us into a new way of living. He helps us to "recover" our lives, and to experience the joy of living a life bigger than ourselves.

How about you? Are you experiencing joy in your walk with Christ? Or is your faith life joyless and burdensome? Jesus said in John 10:10, "I have come to give you life and life abundantly." Are you experiencing abundant life? If not Jesus says to you, "Come unto me all you are weary and burdened and I will give you rest for your souls." Respond to Jesus' invitation to a new way of life in His easy yoke.

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