(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday)

Some days find me wondering about life. I get discouraged at mountains that need to be climbed, fires that need to be put out and cries that need to be responded to.

Mental and spiritual tiredness can be translated into physical tiredness.

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

Often my tiredness comes when I forget to come to Jesus. But coming to Jesus doesn’t always provide the instant relief I want. Jesus came to his Father and sought rest. He didn’t find it in Luke 22:45. He was “exhausted from grief” after he had spent hours in prayer.

Maybe a good perspective is to look at the verse after Matthew 11:28 – “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Notice the word “yoke”. That usually means a wooden beam put over the necks of cattle to help them pull a load. We will be pulling a load. That’s part of life. But will the load be one we created or one that God wants us to carry? If it’s a God-created load, Jesus tells us that we will find rest as we carry it. That’s an ironic aspect to life – we are designed to work. And when we find the work we were designed for, we will find rest. But it’s still work!

TV and movies tell us that we can have a fulfilling life with no work or effort involved. A search for “Free” yields almost 3.8 billion results on Google. We all want something for nothing – but remember that good things do cost.

And remember that we need to rest.

3 thoughts on “Tired

  1. Richard

    Thanks for bringing this passage back to mind. Several years ago I was feeling mighty burdened by work, family, and a music ministry that I had taken on at my church. I was practically frantic, and said as much at a church leadership meeting. Daniel, a young intern attending the meeting, prayed for me at the end of the meeting, “Lord, help Richard remember that your yoke is easy and your burden is light.”

    The next morning I read Matt 11:28-30 and wrote several pages in my journal. In reflection I realized that I thought it was all up to me, I was worried about falling, and in my mind the burden was much greater than in reality. It was a turning point, and “ah-ha” moment in my spiritual journey.

    Yes, we must work, and we will be pulling a load, but God never piles on more than we can handle. He’ll pile on just enough to force us to depend on Him, and then He’ll ask us to lean on Him and not on our own understanding. And then, mysteriously, miraculously, the yoke becomes light and the burden easy.


  2. Rich Dixon

    I recently learned that a rabbi’s “yoke” was his teachings, the stuff his followers had to do. It gave this verse more meaning for me, because the rabbis of Jesus’ time (and many preachers today) laid heavy yokes of expectation and guilt on people.

    Jesus’ yoke is easy and light because it’s perfectly aligned with how we were designed. And I still persist in doing it my way–a pretty good definition of insanity, huh?


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