Carrying life’s heavy loads
Some of the most relevant words of Jesus that speak to lives in a modern society are found in St. Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all you who labor 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.”
We would think advances that have brought so many benefits to civilization in the past century should have lessened the stress of human life. Work week hours have been reduced. Medical breakthroughs have eliminated plagues, and remedies found for hundreds of incurable diseases.
Surprisingly, in spite of the fact that the quality and longevity of life have increased, stress has not been reduced proportionately. To the contrary, it seems to have increased.
Too many weary souls used to enduring exhaustion from the complexities of life, the prospect of rest seems beyond possibility.
But the truth is, great numbers of people have found blessed relief and release because they have responded to the Savior’s invitation, “Come with Me.” They have learned that true rest can be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.”
Physical work is not our problem nor is idleness our cure. Most of the exhaustion people suffer has deeper roots. Jesus makes the subtle comparison of life to that of oxen pulling a load of product to market.
Oxen are renowned for strength and are well equipped to pull heavy loads but not one piles on the ox cart unnecessary weight that will slow them down and wear them out.
Yet, we humans carry baggage and burdens that are totally unnecessary. Every year that passes we throw more stuff on our cart. It is the weight and burden of our sins that wastes so much of our human energy and is the great enemy of inner peace and rest. Pride, greed, selfishness, and countless other sins cause more grief, more pain, and more stress to the world than the hardest labor or all the diseases of the world. Yet is rarely acknowledged as a factor and casually excused as normal human behavior.
God has sent a Savior who died and rose again to pardon and deliver us from our sins. In receiving the invitation to wear His yoke rather than one of our own making, the crushing burden of our guilt and sins are removed and we are enabled to run life’s race with joy and efficiency.
In the end, we will be able to say with the Apostle, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day,” 2 Timothy 4:7-8.
Pastor Gene Holman of Living Word Fellowship is a memberof the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.