Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Here You'll Find Rest"

One of the things that always makes me smile is watching families with small children try to get ready to go anywhere. The amount of packing and loading and reloading that goes on is amazing. You all know what I mean. There is just so much stuff to account for and carry. The same kind of thing is one of the reasons I never liked staying in beach houses or motels that are not oceanfront. Lugging all of your "stuff" down to the beach and back a couple of times a day gets old in a hurry. It's also the reason I never liked backpacks. Carrying around things that I may or may not need always felt like unnecessary baggage. Perhaps the one thing all of these have in common is that I am simply lazy. Or maybe is has something to do with burdens.

Way back in my days at Quaker Lake Camp my good friend Martha Ratledge (now Farlow) would often sing a song in worship services that featured words from Matthew 11. "Here you'll find rest, you'll find rest for your weary soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden light, come to me." I always loved the song and the message, and it taught me an important scripture. Too many preachers and teachers present religion as an additional burden in our lives- something none of us needs. Life is complicated enough. Our families, our jobs, our health and our relationships are often daily struggles. The last thing life with Jesus should be is one more thing where we have to pack up all of our stuff, load it on our backs and then be yelled at because we forgot something important. That may be what religion is- but it has nothing to do with walking the #NarrowRoad

Check out these words of Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30 from The Message and you'll see what I mean: "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? 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."

Isn't that an amazing text? We so often think of following the Christ and walking the #NarrowRoad as this burden, this insurmountable challenge to be spiritually perfect. Jesus says that just the opposite should be true. Walking with him should be a time of peace and rest in our crazy lives. We don't have to pack up our faults and our failures, or gather up our good deeds and our church perfect attendance pins. We don't have to "get our act together" before hitting the trail. We just need to walk with the Savior, unencumbered and free. "Learn the unforced rhythms of grace." How different would our lives be if we were to truly recognize that Jesus cares NOTHING about religion and EVERYTHING about relationships? There are no backpacks needed on the #NarrowRoad. Jesus carries it all. And quite often, he carries us too.

The next time someone makes you feel burdened by telling you that you are not doing religion "right," remember the words of the Master. "Get away with me and you'll recover your life." True Christianity is not about doing more or carrying more baggage. It's about walking through life (and being yoked & connected) with the love of God whose name is Jesus. Want that walk? Need to be free of your burdens? He's calling.  "Come to me..."

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous6/30/2015

    Dude- every Tuesday you are blowing me away. And giving me great stuff to steal for my messages to the youth. Thanks so much, bro! ~ Chris Cooper

  2. Chris I can't express how much I appreciate your support.

  3. I never really thought of it this way, but you are totally right. It isn't supposed to be a burden. The yoke is supposed to be light. Love this.

    1. I spent years seeing thinking with Jesus should be "hard work." It's not always easy, but he made it clear it is NOT supposed to be a burden. It was a hard-learned lesson in my life. Glad you enjoyed it my friend!


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