Thought for the Week - 16th August

Matthew 11: 28-30

”Come to Me, all you who labour 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.’’

How well do you know Jesus? Often when asked this question we have one of two reactions, either that we know Him well enough and are just fine, or we fall into introspection that we don’t know Him enough, don’t do this enough and don’t do that enough. The importance of it is not knowing about Jesus, but knowing Him as a person and having a relationship with Him on a day to day basis. It is not to examine our failings, but to know how much more there is for us. 

‘’Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden’’… All of us have burdens of different types coming from inside and outside of our control. These can be sins we can’t seem to get free from, shame and guilt, temptation, worry, fear and anxiety, health issues, or just the busyness of life. All of these cause pain and a weight upon us. We carry them with us, and even when we are aware of them, we may not realise their weight. It is often only when that weight is lifted that we realise how heavy it was. 

I find when I go to God and sit in the peace that’s found in Him, the weight of the busyness and cares of the world are lifted. I think we are bad at recognising our own need and taking it to Jesus. Our instinct is to try to deal with it ourselves, but Jesus says ‘’Come to Me’’. This is a simple command yet we find it so hard to practice because it is our nature to take control, to try to sort it out, or to fall into despair. We must learn to go to Jesus with our need, and the cry of our heart to become, as the old chorus says, ‘’ I need thee every hour’’. When we take our problems to God it does not necessarily mean that they disappear but that in them God trains us, bringing us back to Him time and time again. 

The more we take our problems straight to God the more we open ourselves up to Him, and rather than allowing them to build up into a storm within us, God breaks them down. Jesus is the answer to all these things, and by spending time with Him and communicating with Him, we grow to know Him personally and in doing so find His power to change us. When we go to Christ with our need, it is then His power is displayed, He is able to change situations that seem hopeless and bring peace into every storm.  

‘’And I will give you rest’’… This is a deep rest in which you can let go. So often in our burdens a huge problem is that we hold on to them. It almost doesn’t occur to us that that we can let go of them into Jesus’ hands. 

‘’Take my yoke and I will give you rest’’… Here Jesus is saying that not only are we to hand our burdens to Him, but we are to take His burden onto us. It’s an exchange. I think we have a part within us that fears that what He asks us to bear is too much for us. It can seem so hard to not to give in to sin and fight temptation. Being obedient can seem so much heavier than our burden, but Christ says that it is actually very light. The heavy burden is that which we bear within ourselves, and we find it heavy because we are trying to carry it. 

“Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.’’ – Corrie Ten Boom 

We can beat ourselves up, thinking I’ve failed at this and can’t do that, but what God wants us to do is say yes to Him rather than run away from him trying to sort everything out in our own strength. He wants us to admit our failings and that we cannot do it ourselves and to go to Him as the pains come, handing over our hurts and focusing our thoughts and hearts on Christ. As we do this time and time again, we grow to know Him more and learn the lightness of His yoke as He bears the heaviness for us.


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