STRENGTH FOR THE WEEK: October 30 – November 5

Strength for the Week

GOSPEL INVITATIONS: COME AND REST (part 2)

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Jesus invites those who carry heavy burdens.

Being burdened is different from being wearied, for weariness is the loss of a good thing you need restored, while being burdened is the gain of a bad thing that you need taken away. A wearied person has lost something that makes the journey lighter, while a burdened person has gained something that makes the journey heavier. And Jesus does not just invite the weary to come to him for the restoration of the good they have lost. He also invites the burdened to come to him for the taking away of the weights they carry.

In this invitation, Jesus reveals how uniquely aware he is of your plight. First, he has counted your burdens and is aware that they are many. He knows they are many in kind; burdensome sins, burdensome worries, burdensome relationships, burdensome obligations, burdensome diseases, burdensome pains, burdensome failures, burdensome bills, burdensome jobs, burdensome conflicts. He also knows they are many in number. If it’s sin, it travels in packs, for the thief who steals also covets what is another’s, dishonors those who taught or raised him to do right, defiles his conscience, and lies to cover his tracks. If it’s worry, it travels in packs, for the pregnant woman who worries about her health also worries about her baby, the delivery, the doctors, the medical bills, the baby name to choose, and whether she will be a good mother. Secondly, Jesus has not only counted your burdens and found them to be many in kind and number, but has also weighed them and found them to be heavy. They are burdens you despise and loathe, for it hurts and deforms you to carry them. They are burdens with weights for which you do not have the capacity to carry, for God did not mean them to be carried by us. And this is related to the third thing Jesus knows, that these heavy burdens are the kind you have assumed or taken on presumptuously. They are different from the burdens Jesus himself gives us. It would be a mistake to think that following Jesus is a burdenless enterprise, for for every one of us, Jesus has a cross to give us to bear. But a cross is a burden Jesus gives and invites us to carry with him, while the heavy burdens he wants to take away are crosses we taken on wrongly, crosses that were meant to be carried for us by him. These are the sort of cares and burdens the Gospel tells us to lay on his shoulders, to cast on him.

What heavy burden are you carrying today? Jesus is not inviting you to tough it out. He is not inviting you to put it down. He is inviting you to come and put it on him in exchange for rest.

 

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