Jesus does and says so many remarkable things. But this one in the gospel of Matthew is . . . well, I can’t describe how wonderfully unique this is:
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)
This is God’s message to us? “I’m offering rest. Partner with me, and you’ll find it.”
Jesus offers rest because the way of living that Jesus gives us is deeply restful.
We all live for something. This “yoke” talk is about taking the burden of whatever it is I’m living for, and trading it in. His yoke is lighter, He says.
I can confirm this. I sometimes feel the pressure to have a Big Vision and accomplish some Big Thing or be More Significant and you know what? It’s a lot of stress. Our culture loves Big Visions and Plans and Statements and so forth. But our culture is also acutely anxious and exhausted and angry.
But what if we just focus on the next thing? That’s it. I’ve been trying this for some time now, based on what I’ve learned from studying how Jesus operates. So I want to be faithful with what and who crosses my path today. That’s it.
Jesus told us to pray for our daily bread, the resources we need for today’s challenges. The Big Picture and Other Big Capitalized Things? God can be trusted with those. That’s His burden. Mine is much lighter now.
I really recommend it. It takes some unlearning because we have a society that worships “leadership.” We have conferences and mountains of books about leadership. Everyone thinks they’re supposed to aspire to be in authority. But Jesus, the One who knows how we flourish, keeps telling us to aspire to be a servant.
I can tell you that’s why I’m writing this book. I’m not trying to write a big bestseller. I’m hoping that you’re reading these words, flawed as they are, and that they add value to your life. Of course, we’re all a mixed bag of motives. I’m also writing because I enjoy thinking about this stuff, the publisher gave me a deadline, and my family has grown fond of things like, say, groceries. So sure, that’s in the mix.
But ultimately, when we see what the kingdom looks like, and we fall in love with that, we know that’s what we want more than anything. Since it’s not my kingdom, I’m not responsible for it. I just do my thing, today, and talk to God about it while I walk my dog.
Tomorrow is tomorrow, and I have to trust that God is already there. He tells us He is. He’s come to give me rest. I just have to work with Him. I just have to do my thing. Stuff will happen today. Knowing me, probably weird stuff. But whatever it is? Honestly, I’m not worried.