We have just come out of the busiest time of the year. Between family coming into town, shopping, fewer days at work, and busier days at work; it can be easy to get stressed and overwhelmed. But it is imperative that we deal with the stress in a way that pleases the Lord.
What keeps us going through the stressful times? What makes us, as Christians, different from the rest of the world? We know where to go. We know where to take our stress. We can’t afford to take it out on our coworkers or family. We have to take it to the One who takes it away.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you 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.”
This has to be one of the most comforting phrases in the Bible: “Come to Me.” When you are tired, come. When you are burdened, come. When you are overwhelmed, come. When you are stressed and life is crazy He still says, “Come.” Come to the maker and lover of your soul, He is gentle.
John 1 says that Jesus is the Word made flesh. So when we come to Him, we come to Him either in prayer or in the Word. I believe this is what He was talking about when He said, “Learn from Me.” We learn His ways and His principles when we read the Word. He teaches us through His Word how to live to please Him.
The Word of God is such a comfort and a steadying force when life is crazy. It is a rock when everything else is moving. And if you let it, it will change your life.
That word labor is to grow weary or tired; exhausted with toils, burdens or grief; to labor with wearisome effort; it speaks of physical labor. Wow! He knows where we are at. There is never an assumption that our lives will be perfect or easy. He just asks us to come so that He can refresh our souls.
Heavy laden is another phrase that speaks to many of us. It means to place a burden upon, to load. Sometimes we carry a heavy load; grief, condemnation, guilt, shame… the list is endless. But Jesus wants to take those away. He has relief that nothing else in this world holds.
In busy seasons of life, I always come back to this verse. “Take My yoke.” His yoke; a yoke is not usually something that you want to put on. They were big wooden harnesses used for putting oxen at the plow. That doesn’t sound fun or restful in the slightest. But it is different with Jesus. His yoke is easy. His burden is light. It is worlds better than any load you could carry.
There is a more than just a suggestion in His words, “Learn from Me.” I believe that it is a challenge for us. Take His yoke and learn how He would have you live life. He is gentle. He isn’t a harsh task-master. He is lowly in heart. That word lowly is humble. He is gentle and humble. He has grace for those willing to learn. Give yourself to it and you will never be the same.
Read it in the Amplified Translation:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.”
So when life is stressful or overwhelming; when work is hard or physically exhausting; when you are ready to give up and throw in the towel, come. Take up His yoke. Learn His way. Lay your burdens down and let Him give you rest.