“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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 will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Recently an athlete named Killian Jornet unsuccessfully attempted to break the record for running the longest distance in 24 hours. The record is held by a Greek athlete called Yiannis Kouros. Incredibly this record has stood since 1997 when Kouros ran 303.506 km (188.590 mi). He is so far ahead that he holds all the positions in the top 10! Asked his secret, Kouros said "when other people get tired, they stop. I don't, I take over my body with my mind. I tell it that it's not tired and it listens." This ability to perform at the highest level, defying the physical limitations is the dream of every elite athlete (not that I would know!). Even facing exhaustion and pain, performance continues. It’s totally counter-intuitive.
Jesus faced the worst type of pressures on body, mind and soul. Not only did he have the Jewish authorities hounding him and looking for ways to trap him, but he faced suspicious Roman occupiers and even had an enemy in his own team. He had nowhere to lay his head and call home and, on top of all this, he had Satan himself doing everything to stop his mission. Any one of those would be a reason to give up exhausted, physically and emotionally.
Yet Jesus was able to press on whilst saying “my burden is light”. Exhaustion and stress are everywhere in our society with many people struggling to cope. Here’s an offer from Jesus for us to give our weariness and burdens to him in exchange for His light and easy load. It is, of course, vital that we include the pattern of physical rest in our lives but what Jesus offers is a rested soul. This is the source of true rest. It’s a supernatural rest, from which our physical and mental well-being will flow, no matter how busy our lives become.
Here’s three ways we can practically apply this today:
- Have a daily quiet time, away from phones and other distractions. Time worshipping, praying, and in God’s Word is soul food. Jesus regularly found time to pray and to be with His Father.
Find 2 people each day to encourage in some way. Jesus lived for others and was at total peace.
Get close to people that are living all out for Jesus. Jesus chose disciples that he knew would give everything for him.
STEVE & ANNIE MORRIS
God spoke to us recently through a news item about a colony of Gentoo penguins in London Zoo whose behaviour has changed since nobody has been able to visit them. The keepers noticed the penguins were wandering around their enclosure as if looking for something. They seemed confused, bewildered and aimless. It became apparent to the zookeepers that the penguins were missing the visitors. This is because penguins are a social animal and prefer to live as a large group or colony. What the penguins had done is to include the daily crowds of visitors (us humans) as part of their colony. Even though the visitors changed each day, in their world penguins and humans were all part of the greater colony. When visiting stopped the penguins found this confusing and experienced a sense of loss.
We were like those penguins. We had been struggling to find a place to ‘rest’ and call our spiritual home having been though a wilderness season in our church life. Through circumstances out of our control, we found ourselves spiritually homeless and wondering what was going on and where we were going together, with plenty of confusion and disappointment mixed in. We were desperate for God to show us the way forward as we had no peace and felt really burdened and tired, trying to keep going under our own steam with little sense of community around us. Just like a plant needs to be in the right size pot with nutritious soil to grow, so we sought God, for a number of months, to show us where to connect and get involved with a new church family. In the Living Hope family, we have rediscovered community and through being obedient to God’s direction we have found a place of ‘rest’ deep in our hearts.
What has God said to you through today’s promise?