“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” MATTHEW 11:28-30 The Message
“Why are these always laying on the floor where someone can trip on them?” I mumble bitterly, stepping over shoes on the floor. “Ten minutes!” I command through foaming lips, toothbrush hanging from the side of my mouth.
It is almost inevitable that every morning while brushing my teeth I will simultaneously bark orders that no one is listening to. My hand moves furiously. Spit. Rinse. Shout.
“We need to go!” She doesn’t hear me, but I can hear that she is still in her room as she shuts the sock drawer and sings.
“This is my light song! Shine a light and be strong! Shine a light and be strong!” She’s got the lyrics mixed up to a very familiar song, the one she asks me to turn up loud, but I think I love her version better. And I slow…
Nearly missing this moment, I come very close to marching my way through the morning and missing the miracle. Heart stills and ear bends close to hear the heartbeat of God in his child. The pulsing rhythm draws me in. It keeps time with the pace of babes, a carefree tempo singing the mystery of grace.
My little one has it right. We are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine!
Together we zip down the hall grabbing her lunch bag, back pack, and yesterday’s shoes from the floor. Daddy waits by the door to pray with us, and I rush through it so we can get going.
I look down to grab my car keys, but where is little miss now? Here she comes, a butterfly fluttering from one distraction to the next while I’m desperately trying to get us out the door. With the *snap* of two fingers and the shrill of my voice, I fall out of that gentle cadence.
She stops in her tracks, all steaming hot with the tears of a broken spirit, and I’m over here shaking my head at how quickly I forget His words, “Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your soul…”
Life sometimes feels like a balancing act. Grace, on the other hand, leads me in wide open spaces to move within the freedom of God’s love.
This love is not a permissive allowance that masquerades as passion in the limited terms of our human condition. Rather it is the reception of a Father for his child who went away but now returns to receive what was freely given. Because of the sacrificial and unlimited nature of this love, you are invited to come and welcomed with compassion.
Jesus knows how we can be worn out, burned out from doing so much good. He invites us to lay down the heavy things and lean into him, to learn from him.
Our Lord’s words are not, “Do this, or don’t do that,” but “Come to me.” If I will simply come to Jesus, my real life will be brought into harmony with my real desires…and will find the song of the Lord beginning in my life. –OSWALD CHAMBERS
I want to be in harmony with his song. The Jesus song begins and ends with prayer and communion with his Father. He awoke with the dawn to pray; he stepped away for short periods; he got away from the crowd. He was attentive to his Father’s voice and responsive to the Holy Spirit.
You might be saying, “How do I keep such rhythm and harmony in my life?” Oswald Chambers is onto something when he asserts, “Personal contact with Jesus changes everything.” The moment you hear the unexpected voice of our Lord whispering, “Come to Me,” you are immediately drawn to him.
If you’re like me, you are longing for more rest, more peace in your life. When the Lord says “…and I will give you rest,” Chambers interprets Jesus’ words to mean, “I will sustain you, causing you to stand firm.”
This is not a passive rest. It is more like walking and yes, even working, but each stride is infused with his power and grace.
Jesus calls you to come so he can give you his life. He wants to lift you out of bed, out of your anxious striving, out of exhaustion, and give you life by his Spirit and vitality as you walk with him. It is a rest that throws off turmoil and oppression, like casting off the shackles of slavery.
“For my yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give you is light.” Jesus takes the weight of our burdens, our sin, our religion, and he puts on grace. He gives you the task of walking with him until you feel lightened by his gentle ways.
Are you ready to come to Jesus and receive real rest today? Maybe you are looking at your day and wondering how you can possibly make time to be with him.
Maybe you are laughing right now because it feels impossible to get 10 minutes alone for yourself. There are days when the idea of rest sounds laughable. How can you rest if you haven’t got the time?
Jesus says that the perfect balance in bearing the weight of a burden is simply to put it on him. Balance comes from walking in step with Him by your side, keeping the cadence of his feet.
You only need to pick up the next thing he has given you. It is only when you try picking it up on your own that it feels heavy.
When you step ahead and do it on your own, you will quickly become exhausted, but when Jesus comes alongside you he holds both you and the burden. Walk at his pace. Place your cares upon him. Step lightly into the perfect rhythm of his grace.