“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)
I recently meditated on these words of Jesus in my morning devotions. They are good news for any of us who ever feel stressed, stretched, anxious, weighed down, nervous, overtaxed, overloaded, or whatever word we use to describe ourselves when we don’t think we can handle life. I think that’s all of us.
After thanking His Father that he has hidden the truths of the kingdom from “the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children,” Jesus describes a problem, a promise, and a path.
The problem is universal. We labor and are heavy laden. For whatever reason, life is becoming increasingly difficult. Sure, we’re trying, but not making much progress. The kids still aren’t obeying, your schedule is still jam-packed, the boss can’t be pleased, everyone wants something from you, and no one notices your Herculean efforts to hold everything together.
In the midst of our struggles, Jesus promises rest for our souls. I don’t think many people in our society experience the kind of rest Jesus promises, although everyone wants it. We pursue it in all the wrong places – sports, recreation, possessions, computers, TV and movies – and end up as empty and troubled as when we began our search.
We can all identify with the problem, and are eager to enjoy the promised relief. However, few of us are willing to submit to the path Jesus lays out. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart.”
In essence, Jesus says, “Become like me – gentle and humble.” The road to inner peace involves acknowledging that the root of our turmoil and stress is not other people, but our demanding pride. We insist we can handle our problems on our own. We’ll endure the stress if we can just get the credit. We avoid all blame and just hope this season, too, shall pass.
There’s only one problem. If the situation changes, God will be faithful to provide another one that exposes our self-sufficiency. He doesn’t want us to prove we can make it on our own, but that we are utterly dependent on Him. He won’t give rest to those who seek it apart from the Savior.
So if you’re feeling weighed down by life, take on the yoke of the Savior – gentleness and humility of heart. He is not only our best example for it, but our only source for it. Think of others more highly than yourself. Seek counsel and help from those around you. Serve the needs of others. Confess your sinful desire to impress. Acknowledge your weaknesses, and trust God for strength to complete your responsibilities with joy and faith.
And experience the Savior’s easy yoke and light burden. It’s his promise to those who realize they are but little children in the care of their gracious heavenly Father.
Thank you for a very enlightening post. You have given a very concrete idea of how it is to really “cast our burdens to Jesus” and “finding rest in Him”. Most of the time, we say that we offer our burdens to Jesus but then we keep on living without changing our lifestyle. Sometimes we keep on worrying about a lot of things because we can’t leave the “worrying” behind. And like what you said, we will find peace and rest if we will only stick with the basics of what Jesus is saying, gentleness and humility of heart.
Dear Brother Bob,
I appreciated your posting today. What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bare! What a mighty, mighty Savior He is!
Your brother in Christ,
Not knowing if this is the right place to ask this, but not knowing how else to do it, I’d like to ask you a question……
Yesterday in Sunday School class we were talking about the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit and someone asked about the appropriateness of singing the song “Create in me a new heart, o Lord”, due to the fact that its lyrics quote an OT passage from Psalm 51:11 as David sings “take not your Holy Spirit from me.” Would you sing a song like that in congregational or private worship, or would you see it as poor NT theology? In anticipation, thank you for your response.
Bob, thanks for speaking these truths! I so needed to hear them today. God has a plan and a purpose for us, but we have to do it HIS way. Blessings!
This post really blessed me today. When you wrote, “He doesn’t want us to prove we can make it on our own, but that we are utterly dependent on Him”, my heart shouted a hearty “Amen!” because that is precisely what He’s been teaching me of late.
I appreciate your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, and for reminding us of the rest that is found only in Him. Thanks, Bob!
As I read this verse and your comments, I was blown away with the eagerness and accessibility of Jesus to take our burdens. This past weekend I battled (and lost) with both legalism and stress. Legalism flowing out of taking a new job and wanting to be sufficient in myself to prove my value/capabilities. Stress from selling my house and moving.
God has been gracious to confront and overcome these sins, and this morning reading this verse and devotion caused my soul to long for that intimacy with my Savior who has carried all my sins away completely! I’m amazed!
Greetings Bob! –
It’s so encouraging to hear Jesus say that His own burden is LIGHT; from His comments, it puts all problems into perspective and our problems are substantially lighter! A verse that I just glanced at was Romans 8:32, which saysin the NASB, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered HIM for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” To go along with Mike Bullmore’s outstanding teaching at the New Attitude Conference of linking the gospel with gospel truths and gospel conduct, the effect of the gospel is a sense that we are freely given in Him rest, anxiety through trials, liberation from the power of sin fully displayed at Calvary, and an opportunity to glorify God in our rest!
Thank you again for serving so well with worship at Na – the potential to become more passionate for the Savior has grown. What impacted me (apart from the joy of raising our voices to Him) was realizing that your son was also involved with worship; now THAT’S a great father-son activity – leading worship together to glorify God!
Thank you, Mr. Kauflin, for another wonderful reminder of the Lord’s goodness.
I wanted to tag team on the comment above that thanked you and Devon for leading worship at Na. I have always found in beautiful when father’s and son’s have led in corporate worship.
Also, I wanted to express gratitude to both you and Josh-Josh for having faith that you would have a song for those who do not have that relationship with their parents and you for of course being led by the Spirit.
Everything you said was exactly what I and my church family have been praying over me these past months. Laying down of pride and living humbly. I especially grabbed onto the idea of being a “trophy of grace.”
Anyways, just wanted to express my deep gratitude for the prophetic song at Na. I know of many others who were just as ministered to as I.