Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Are We Weary and Burdened?

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

112015 Ray McDonaldWhen my oldest granddaughter was four-months-old – she entered a stage where she fought sleep (I’m at the age where I love taking a nap and going to bed at night).  She was the best baby I have ever known (all of my grandchildren are for sure).  She didn’t fuss about much of anything – yet she began to fight going to sleep.  I remember babysitting with her and having a hard time getting her to go down for bedtime.

I remember when I was a child my mom would force me to rest – to take an afternoon nap – after hours of playing and lunch.  I’m not sure it was for my good or hers – lol.  But if I laid on my bed long enough – usually about five minutes – I would be sound asleep.  Even today – if I sit still for five minutes I can doze off.  If I’m not in motion – I will become very docile.  I find myself falling asleep most anywhere.

The body needs rest.  I remember my college and seminary days – sleep was something that I did when I really needed it – or I crashed – because there was so much to do and so little time.  Late night study sessions – mainly because I didn’t keep up in my readings like I should – were commonplace.  All-nighters were just the way I rolled back then.  Up until about a two years ago – 4-6 hours of sleep was all I needed – with a 15-20 minute nap mid-day.  At 61 I am starting to need a little more rest to recoup from the day!  Now I find myself needing 7-8 hours a night – still with the 15-20 minute nap during the day.

Let’s look at the verse for the day – as it speaks about rest.  The first two definitions of rest found in the American Heritage Dictionary are – 1) Cessation of work, exertion, or activity.  2) Peace, ease, or refreshment resulting from sleep or the cessation of an activity.  The Scripture that speaks of this to me the most – and I use it often at funerals for the loved ones left behind – is Psalm 23:1-6 – 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  People facing the death of a loved one need rest.  They need the tranquil moments beside the still waters.  They need their souls restored.  They need to know that they can travel this road of death without fearing any evil (I underlined a few of the points in the Psalm that speak to me of rest and peace).

Rest is more than sleep as we saw in Psalm 23 – although a good sound night’s sleep can bring a lot of rest.  Where is it in our life where we need some rest?  How’s our marriage doing?  Is that an area where some rest would be helpful?  How about our job or our relationships?  Is rest something needed there?  How about our health?  How about our walk with Jesus?

Here’s today’s passage in partial context.  Matthew 11:27-30 – 27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 “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.”  As I read this passage – along with this being Holy Week – I remember what Jesus went through this week.  If we read the story again this week we will remember that there was little rest for Jesus during this week – except the rest He found in His relationship with the Father.  His nation turned against Him.  The religious leaders turned against Him.  His friends and even His disciples mostly turned away from Him during His time of need.  They couldn’t even stay awake to pray with Him before He was arrested.  His only rest – His only peace – was walking with the Father.  Such a good example for us to follow.  When everything around seems to be failing – we are promised that God will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  Let us read the Lord’s words once again.  “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.” 

Folks – if we haven’t gotten the message from today’s devotional thought yet – let me tell it to you straight.  We can not find true peace ANYWHERE but in JESUS.  True peace is in Christ and Christ alone!  Are we weary and burdened?  If so – we need to turn to Jesus!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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March 21, 2016 - Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , ,

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