REST FOR THE SOUL
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
What a great promise for all who have known weariness: “ye shall find rest unto your souls.” All of us can identify with the need for spiritual and emotional rest. We know what it is to be weary and burdened. Phrases like “stressed out” and “stress management” are common to our culture. Whether it is the housewife, the commuter negotiating through rush-hour traffic, the pastor shouldering the cares of the ministry, or the teenager dealing with the pressures of adolescence, stress is a part of life. Jesus offers rest to our souls.
The Scripture sounds forth an invitation to all who are heavy laden, and it is an invitation to come to Him. The rest that the Lord offers is not a formula or a plan; it is a relationship with a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is first an invitation to come to Him and trust Him as Savior. The greatest burden we all have is the burden of our sin. When a person is made aware of God’s holy law, and is confronted with his personal guilt before Him, the weight of sin becomes too much to bear. The only relief for that burden is the forgiveness found in receiving Christ. This does not imply that once we come to the Lord in salvation, we never again experience unrest in our souls. As Christians, we should continue to come to Him and find rest.
Responsibilities, problems, and frustrations can weigh heavily on our minds and hearts. In our weariness, our Savior wants us to come to Him. He invites us to take His yoke upon us. When we are yoked to Him, He is working with us. We are not alone in our struggles. He wants to assist us on our journey. He encourages us to learn of Him. He wants to teach us as we rely on Him and rest in Him.
We see in this passage the gentle nature of our Lord: “meek and lowly in heart.” When we go to Jesus, we need not be concerned that He will be harsh or unkind. He cares about us and wants to give us rest. As we depend on Him and walk in His will, we see that His “yoke is easy” and His “burden is light.” When done with God’s help, God’s will is never more than we can manage. When it seems the burdens are too heavy for us, we can come to Him and find rest for our souls.