I am in San Francisco this week meeting my new granddaughter, Elizabeth, and helping my son and daughter-in-law adjust to life with a toddler and a baby–a time of much joy, and I am filled with gratitude. I am also being reminded of how exhausting it is to care for an energetic toddler, and I know my son and daughter-in-law will often be tired in the coming weeks and months. So weariness and rest are on my mind, and this week I want to meditate on Jesus’ invitation to those who are weary to come to him and rest.
Sometimes when I read and meditate on Jesus’ words, they present a different picture of what he’s like than I’ve thought, whether because of my own experiences, or society’s view of him, or even from how’s he’s been represented by the church. That’s one reason I read and reread and ponder his words as recorded in the gospels and why I also always appreciate hearing the thoughts of others who are reading them with fresh eyes. I’m including the passage in two very different translations, since that also sometimes helps me get a fresh perspective on what I’m reading.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
28-30 “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)
Monday: Of all the voices around you, how many invite you to rest? How often do you actually rest in a way that leaves you refreshed in both body and soul?
Tuesday: What burdens are you dealing with? Are you weary from carrying them? If so, Jesus’ invitation is for you, to come and rest. Take some time today to really rest, receiving whatever opportunity you have to rest as a gift.
Wednesday: At times, when I’m really wound up or on the go, I find it hard to slow down and rest, even when I have the opportunity. Jesus invites us to learn how to rest from him. So many of the voices around us are telling us to work harder, produce more, make ourselves better, but Jesus invites us to come as we are and receive from him. Ponder this thought today and think about how Jesus’ words differ from the world’s demands.
Thursday: Jesus is gentle and humble. Let’s meditate on that today, thinking about what that means for our relationship with him and also for how we live in relationship with others.
Friday: What might the “unforced rhythms of grace” look like in our daily life. Let’s ponder this throughout the day today.
Saturday: Do your life or responsibilities sometimes feel too heavy? Jesus tells us that his yoke is easy and his burden light– that he doesn’t lay loads on us too heavy for us to bear. Ask God to help you know what is from him and what are actually demands from others that aren’t something God is calling you to deal with. Jesus calls us to walk and work with him, so that we don’t have to do it alone and so we can get the rest we need.