MONDAY, MARCH 14TH
A TIME OF COMFORT
As many of us begin a new work week we wonder what words of comfort Jesus will have for us today. We settle next to him, eagerly listening for his next insight. Jesus leans toward us, extends his open hands, and says,
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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, NRSV)
Even though these words are familiar, we are blessed to hear them again. Today, are you physically weary, perhaps from a restless night or a busy weekend? Or are you spiritually and emotionally spent, out of worry and concern for yourself or others? Are you carrying a heavy burden or two (or three)? What would you like to bring to Jesus today? Spend a few moments sharing your struggles and burdens; he is listening.
Here is mentoring at its core: Take my yoke upon you. Back in Jesus’s time, when students chose a rabbi to follow, “Taking the yoke of the rabbi reflected a disciple’s willing submission and adherence to his chosen rabbi’s interpretation and application of the Old Testament Scriptures.”1
So here, Jesus invited his followers to learn from him, to hear his new teachings and interpretations of ancient and sacred writings. Jesus saw beyond all of the Old Testament holiness rituals and rules to give us one: Love God and love one another. Oh, this command to love can be challenging at times! But we are freed of the burden of following the 600+ laws that the Pharisees had in place.
Through Jesus our rabbi, we are also freed of the burden of rule-keeping for our salvation; instead, our obedience can grow out of gratitude, love, and trust. Jesus even went on to say that he is “gentle and humble in heart,” not strict, harsh, and unforgiving. His words of comfort can soothe and encourage our weary souls!
If anyone knows about the wearying burdens and hardships that life brings, it’s Jesus. Today, taking on the yoke of Christ means that we can let go of the reigns and let his Spirit guide our daily living. Doing so can bring our genuine rest because we are entrusting our days to the expert. We can carry what we do well – and entrust what he can do best.
In this, we will find true rest for our souls.