“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.” Matthew 11.28-30
This promise of Jesus is so well-known that we are apt to lose sight of the sheer wonder of what he is saying.
First of all it is a promise that is for us. It applies to every single person and yet at the same time is deeply personal, calling to each individual who is willing to listen. We do not have to be good enough or pass any tests to come to Jesus. In fact, the only qualification is that we are heavy laden and weary. If this includes physical, mental or spiritual weariness, then it really is good news for us!
Secondly, we are not being commanded to follow a set of rules or undergo dramatic change before this promise applies. We are simply invited to come to a person - to Jesus – and find gentleness. He is not waiting to punish us, or make excessive demands upon us, but simply to treat us with gentleness.
So what stops us? Perhaps we simply have difficulty believing that Jesus really will be there for us, with the rest for our souls that we so earnestly need. The antidote to this reticence is to take a short walk of trust, laying aside all fears and doubts, and simply come to him. Jesus does not specify a particular way we should do this, so it can be as easy as recognising that you are weary and heavy-laden and simply saying, 'Jesus, help me.'
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission