No Summer Bummer
“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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 shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my load is light.” (Matt 11:28-30, NAS)
Too Busy for a Holiday
Frankly, I have always had trouble with taking a holiday. Maybe it is guilt, maybe I am just a workaholic; maybe I am fearful of things falling apart without me. Well anyway, I know that holidays are needed (or so I am told), especially if the goal of the holiday is rest; not just frantic recreation, after which you need a vacation from your vacation! Though I am not an international pastor, I am told (it has been said at least) that IC Pastors also struggle with holidays…though they look forward to being home, away from the day to day problems in the field, they also miss the work (and people) that is so important to them.
Though holidays are sometimes difficult (at least the first few days), rest is certainly something we all need; even Jesus did. I like the Message Bible’s take on the above passage “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.”
There are many illustrations of Jesus taking time during his earthly ministry to catch a breath, get away, and spend some down time, alone with the Father and friends. How he spent that time, certainly we assume prayer was a part; but really, we don’t know exactly. However, he does make a revealing (self-revelation) statement in the passage quoted above. He had a yoke, a burden, a purpose, a focus of life, as do we all. He recognized that the burdens we often carry are heavy, weighing us down with cares and woes. Yet he calls to us; come to me. Let me do a bit of exchange with you. For his burden (the salvation of our souls, training his disciples, demons, Pharisees, etc.) was somehow lighter than the burden we carry. The lightness seemed to be connected to his gentle and humble heart…he knew who he was, who he wasn’t, why he came, where he was going. He had a perfect, submitted trust in his Father; attributes that certainly lead to rest for any of us. His light load, though filled with activity, was never frantic, always at the pace of the Father, which required some time away, a little holiday. So, this summer, as you head home or wherever you travel to, try to take Jesus’ advise…since we all need some rest.
The work of the ministry is at times wearing. We are only human. The work will wait, and I am convinced that as we wait or rest in the Lord, our human strength will be renewed, our mental acuity will be rejuvenated, our spirit will be refreshed, and the work (did I mention it will still be here?) will go easier when we return.
My prayer for all of our MICN partners, fellow laborers, friends, faithful supporters as we rest in preparation for a busy fall to come is that you too will find rest for your souls, by again coming to the Master with your cares, burdens, fears and frets, and just rest. Pray for me too…as I am going to strive to rest; by his grace.