This continues to be a year of searching for many people on our little blue planet. Some continue to search for treasure or pleasure, but many are highly aware that they need to find peace. I think Jesus’ words “You will find rest for your soul” may describe what we mean by peace. I have recently been thinking a great deal about the word “peace” because it is a major component of the promises of God for mankind. We are assured Biblically that we will find peace in a relationship with God. Peace, that surpasses human understanding.
I believe that we are even given practices that help us discover peace. The number one practice is Sabbath “keeping”. It is an interesting phrase in itself, Sabbath keeping, declares that the Sabbath is present with or without our recognition. It is real, it is there, and we can choose to find its expression for ourselves or not, but it does not disappear because we do not acknowledge it. Yet, when we “keep’ it, or align with it we align with best practices for people seeking to walk with God and find rest and peace.
I would like to link it with another text about rest for the burdened. It is found in Matthew 11 verses 28-30:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Consider the opening call from Jesus here. He invites us to come if we are weary and burdened. That already implies a promise of help, and the next phrase delivers the promise, “you will find rest.” That is the promise of Sabbath as well. Six days you to work and on the seventh a day to rest, put aside work, stop striving “for” and simply rest “in” a 24-hour period that God has set aside and blessed for mankind.
Jesus words in Matthew take that uncomfortable twist next, He says, “Take My yoke upon you.” For my entire life people have been marching in the streets to have yokes removed. Much of this has been entirely legitimate! Mankind had placed yokes on certain groups that God had never intended, and we are all better off when they are removed. But Jesus is calling the weary to take a yoke that is “easy” so that we might “learn” from Him.
We have to be clear eyed about this:
Jesus is offering to help me carry my load, not offering me a load to carry!
Jesus is offering to teach me how to pull with Him as a yoked partner.
Jesus then culminate with a towering promise, “You will find rest for your soul.”
Being yoked to a load does not sound good to us for many reasons. Let me just mention two. One, we mistakenly think that we are not already yoked to one, and two, we think Jesus is making us do the pulling.
It is arrogant beyond expression to imagine that we are lifting God’s burden. What the text offers is Jesus to help us manage our burden, Jesus train us in pulling together and Jesus to teach us to find rest for our soul.
As for me I’m in! I want to get into this yoke. I want to shed the illusion that there is a yoke/burden free life available. I want to learn day by day to walk in step with Jesus. And more than ever in my life I want to find rest for my soul.
I hope you will choose also to have the Prince of Peace teach you how to find this kind of peace, “Rest for your soul.” And that you will find in Sabbath a weekly practice of peace for your soul.