28″Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
I am back again from my vacation in Hong Kong. It was supposed to be my rest but I can hardly do so. Do you know why? My 4-year-old son kept pestering me to carry him wherever we went. So, I have to carry a 25kg boy most of the time until I did not really feel cold in the winter. In other words, I did a lot of weight lifting there. I am also glad that I brought the book “The One Minute Millionaire” in which I read it in the plane and hotel. It is a real eye opener. It makes me more determined to be rich by the end of 2010.
Let us get back to the topic. In the above passage, Jesus was preaching to his disciples on his role in taking away their weariness and burdens. Jesus wanted to take away their heavy yoke and replace them with his light yoke.
In Verse 28, Jesus made an open invitation to everyone who were weary and burdened because he wanted to give them rest. This principle is still true today. Jesus is a rest-giver. The life of Christians is the life of rest. If you have attended any religious church, you will find Matthew 11:28 to be missing in their practices.
Religious pastors think it is the will of God for believers to be burdened and weary. So, they made it their tradition to blackmail their members to go for missions or volunteer as free labor in the church. I can still remember that in my first church, every sermon I heard from the pastors was about blackmailing people to work for them (in missions or free labor) or to give money to the church. Every public holiday was packed with activities. There was hardly any rest. Being a Christian was such a wearisome and burdensome experience. Yet, the above verse says the opposite. So, I am glad I have left that church.
The truth is, Jesus wants us to rest. If you happen to be in a church that has been piling burdens on you, the wisest thing for you to do is to leave it. Churches that create weariness and burdens to their members are not operating from the teachings of Jesus. Therefore, they must be of the devil.
In the subsequent verse, Jesus wants us to take on his yoke and learn from him. He is gentle and humble in heart. He is the source of our rest. It appears that these 2 qualities are crucial to our rest in him. Let us explore further.
Jesus is gentle. Gentleness is not weakness. It is about having full control over one’s strength. When we have full control over our strength, we are in position to achieve maximum result with minimum cost. We will not get confused and tired easily. We will appear as miracle workers to others because we can get more things done with less effort.
So, how do we get that way? We need to go to Jesus and learn his way. Read the Bible on the life of Jesus. Find out how Jesus solve problems and remain positive even when the situation turned bad. He is the master of using his faith to overcome every problem that came into his life. He can turn every sickness into health, every poverty into prosperity and every failure into success. He is also not a pervert. His definition of the terms “prosperity”, “health” and “success” are the same as in the dictionary.
The other quality, Jesus used was humble at heart. Jesus was very humble. He has humility. Please note that his humility is true in contrast with the false humility displayed by the theologians. What is the difference between true and false humility? True humility comes from a confident and steadfast heart. When you are truly confident and believe in the blessing of God in your life, you will automatically display true humility. In contrast, those who are insecure doubters will resort to running down themselves in order to create a mask of humility. Insecure people can never achieve true humility.
Therefore, having a confident and steadfast heart is necessary for us to have peace and rest. How to get it? The answer is the same. Go to Jesus.
In Verse 30, Jesus emphasize that his yoke is easy and my burden is light. Why would he tell us that? There are 2 reasons:
1. He wants us to take on his yoke and burden.
2. He wants us to be able to identify false yoke and burden.
If you have been to a religious church, you will notice that it is a status symbol to tell people that the Lord had given you a heavy burden. This is supposed to give the impression that the Lord considers you to be a faithful servant. If fact, the heavier your burdens, the higher your status among the religious people. Yet, Jesus seems to have an opposite opinion. In short, if you have heavy burdens, you are not submitting to Jesus.
In conclusion, living a life of rest is not just our right as Christians but also a testimony to our submission to the leadership and teachings of Jesus.