Come to Me
How are you managing these strange times of minimal social contact and enforced isolation? Loris and I should have helped Tom & Alli celebrate their wedding last Sunday. Their marriage took place, the celebrations are postponed. I conducted a funeral this Tuesday; four people seated about two metres from each other around a gravesite. Tough going! Contact with family restricted. Birthdays and other celebrations put on hold. No football on TV! I’ve been reflecting this week on life as it used to be, the good things we’re currently missing, and the best invitation I ever received.
Matthew records this invitation for us, at the end of chapter 11:
“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.” – Matthew 11:28-30
Have you ever received an invitation like it? Think about it for a moment. Jesus invites us to bring him the things that weigh us down and wear us out, to give all these things to him, and to receive from him in exchange, his rest. Is that the best invitation you’ve ever received?
The rest Jesus offers us is not a holiday! The yoke in Jesus’ day was an instrument of partnership. Made of wood it roughly resembled a figure eight on its side. Farmers used the yoke to join a pair of oxen together working in the field, often linking a young, inexperienced ox in training to an older, bigger and stronger animal. This is the kind of rest Jesus offers us. What’s not to like about the prospect of working alongside Jesus; his steady, consistent presence and strength compensating for our many weaknesses and failures? What a privilege to learn on the job from such a wise and kind teacher!
And we note the lessons Jesus himself identifies as characteristics of his he most wants to impart to us: gentleness and humility. Food for thought!
As a carpenter in Nazareth, Jesus would have been the local yoke-maker for the farmers around him. He knew the importance of a well-made and properly fitted yoke. He promises that the yoke he invites us to share with him is easy; and any burden we share with him is significantly lightened.
I love my holidays! But the rest Jesus offers me, offers you, is available all year round. Feeling a little weary? Why not share your particular “burden” with him today, and take up his invitation to walk and work alongside him?
Points for Prayer:
# Those feeling weary and burdened
# Those feeling lonely and isolated
# Businesses who have lost trade/sales
# Employees who have lost their jobs
# Our political leaders and their families
# Hope for all as Easter approaches
What a Friend We Have in Jesus – Alan Jackson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znWu2HCJ92c