Monday, September 24, 2012
Today’s Topic: A Personal Invitation from Jesus
Today’s Text: Matthew 11:28 (ESV) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
What exhausts you? Maybe it’s physical labor. Maybe it’s an emotional crisis. It could be the ups and downs of relationships. Maybe it’s just the constant struggle you have with the circumstances of everyday life. Whatever it is, we’ve all felt it. We’ve been at the end of our rope with barely enough strength to hang on and wondered if letting go would be the best option. Maybe it is, if by letting go we intend to fall into the arms of God and be renewed with His strength.
Jesus knew that life would exhaust us. But he also knew that the answer to the question of what exhausts us the most is probably something we had not considered. When Jesus looked around at the masses of people who were His contemporaries in Galilee, he saw beneath the surface of their physical conditions, their relationship issues, and their political and financial turmoil. Jesus saw the thing that truly exhausted them – their constant struggle to earn the approval of God.
Living under the corruption of a godless political system was nothing in comparison to living in the chains of a corrupt religious system – a system that manipulated and controlled people with laws that could only produce self-declared righteousness. Jesus saw people being suppressed and enslaved with the constant labor demanded by the law with only a glimmer of hope that they could ever achieve a relationship with God. Around every corner appeared a pharisaical inspector of their lives to tell them how they had failed.
It was to these people who Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
It is to you and me that He still issues the invitation. You see, we still carry the burden of the need for approval. It weighs us down. It exhausts us. If only we could earn the approval of our spouse, our parents, our bosses, or our employees. If only it was possible to finally be content with whom we are, rather than trying to measure up to the expectations of others. If only we weren’t so addicted to the need for affirmation.
We are exhausted from trying so hard. We are at the end of our rope, with no strength left to hold on any longer.
Now is the time to hear the invitation from Jesus – “Let go!” Stop all your efforts to affirm yourself. Drop all the masks you wear to earn the approval of others. Flop on your face before God in complete weakness and discover His rest, His peace, and His strength. He will prop you up with His promise of grace that is sufficient for every need.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Yesterday morning as I was putting the final pieces of the message for church into place, the Lord reminded me of a song that I had heard dozens of time while growing up when my mother and father would sing it as a duet in church. Never before have the words meant more to me. I pray that they touch your life right now as well. They truly describe the end to your exhaustion.
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.