Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
The clock blinked 1:55 a.m. Burdened by a late-night text conversation, sleep wasn’t coming. I unwound the mummy-like clutch of my tangled sheets and padded quietly to the couch. I Googled what to do to fall asleep but instead found what not to do: don’t take a nap or drink caffeine or work out late in the day. Check. Reading further on my tablet, I was advised not to use “screen time” late either. Oops. Texting hadn’t been a good idea. When it comes to resting well, there are lists of what not to do.
In the Old Testament, God handed down rules regarding what not to do on the Sabbath in order to embrace rest. In the New Testament, Jesus offered a new way. Rather than stressing regulations, Jesus called the disciples into relationship. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In the preceding verse, Jesus pointed to His own ongoing relationship of oneness with His Father—the One He’s revealed to us. The provision of ongoing help Jesus enjoyed from the Father is one we can experience as well.
While we’re wise to avoid certain pastimes that can interrupt our sleep, resting well in Christ has more to do with relationship than regulation. I clicked my reader off and laid my burdened heart down on the pillow of Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me . . .”
How does viewing rest as a relationship rather than a regulation change your view of rest? In what area of your life is Jesus calling you to rest in relationship with Him?
Dear Jesus, thank You for the rest You call me to in an ongoing relationship with You.
Implicit in Matthew 11:25–30 is the truth that we’re all under some type of “yoke,” that is, we each have a burden to bear in this world. Those who are “weary and burdened” (v. 28)—which at some point is all of us—have a choice to make. We can choose to remain under the yoke that comes from living in this world apart from God, or we can follow Jesus and wear His yoke. He assures us it’s easy and light (v. 30). That may be hard to believe as we encounter life’s many challenges, but choosing to run from God brings a far greater burden—one that leads ultimately to despair. Life will bring all kinds of burdens, but how much better to follow after Christ. He promises a peace that the world can’t give (John 14:27).