In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus calls out to ‘all who are weary and burdened’ saying we should take his yoke upon us and learn from him because he’s gentle and humble in heart.  And he says we will find rest for our souls.

He’s not talking about egg yolks, he’s talking about a piece of equipment that is placed over the head, around the neck and shoulders of work animals – horses, mules, oxen, cows, even dogs and I don’t know what other kinds of animals.  Some people work their animals to death and animal rights activists really oppose this kind of mistreatment.  There are some people who feel as if they are being worked to death by their employers.  There are some people who work themselves to death thinking they have to do everything they think of that they see or hear needs doing.  They are their own worst bosses. 

When Jesus called his disciples to follow him, they followed him while he worked and when he rested. They saw him seek times of rest and refreshment.  He did not overwork them.  When he told his disciples to look at the birds he must have been wanting them to notice that they took times of rest.

I looked up the word rest in a bible dictionary as it is originally used and learned there are different connotations.  The original Hebrew word for rest in this verse is connected to another verb that means to assure, to have confidence, make friends, persuade, trust, inward certainty.

It’s easy to get confused by all the voices in the world around us.  Everybody thinks you should be or do something different than who you are or what you are doing.  This makes us think we are guilty and feel ashamed. We separate ourselves from people when that happens.  Everyone has their personal opinion about what should be done.   But the truth is, we don’t have all the answers.  God does.  He knows the plans he has for our lives, the spiritual gifts and talents and skills he has given us. Do we? He knows who we are and what we have been created to do. He unites us in purpose, through a spirit of truth, love and grace.

There are so many voices in the world, prophetic and social justice voices, telling us to hurry up and that there is a lot of work to be done.  But work that is done by physically, emotionally and spiritual exhausted people is not of good quality. Sound growth in body, mind and spirit requires rest.  Good work does also.

Jesus said he was humble.  Part of humility is knowing what and how much we can and cannot do and recognizing when we need to rest, our bodies and in the word. Jesus modeled going away to a quiet place to pray and be still. When we are weary and burdened do we find a place where we can rest, yoke ourselves with Jesus and learn from him?  Or do we just run off somewhere for awhile and come back without a solution of how to deal with the burden and so we become weary even before our vacation ends.

 Whenever we’re confused, when we’re weary, when we’re burdened we can turn to Jesus in a number of ways. We can search the Scriptures, we can seek Christian friends. If there is no place else to go we can at least find a church to sit in and be still before the Lord.  There we can search our own hearts and mind first. We can ask ourselves; Why am I in a state of unrest? What burden am I carrying and why am I so  weary?  Then we can search the Scriptures and learn from them, we can talk with a Priest, Pastor, Counselor or Spiritual Care Director so we can have rest for our souls. 

Where do we go if it seems as if there is unrest in the world, at home and in the church? Retreat centers, monasteries, convents all offer places to rest in body, mind and spirit.

I have learned that what Jesus said is true and that being yoked with him and taught from His words is a good thing for me.  Perhaps you will learn this too. 

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