Summary: Jesus promises to bear our burdens, sometimes we needlessly carry them around anyways, but if we let go He will take it from us.
Promises of Jesus: Carry Our Burdens
I want to read you a page from the U.S. Government Peace Corps Manual for its volunteers who work in the Amazon Jungle. The page I’m going to read concerns what to do in case you’re attacked by an Anaconda. The Anaconda is the largest snake in the world. It grows to 35 feet in length and weighs between 300 and 400 pounds. It squeezes it’s victims to death. So this page is the strategy, the steps to take, if attacked by an Anaconda:
1. If you are attacked by an Anaconda, do not run. The snake is faster than you are.
2. Lie flat on the ground. Put your arms tight against your sides, your legs tight against one another.
3. Tuck your chin in.
4. The snake will come and begin to nudge and climb over your body.
5. Do not panic.
6. After the snake has examined you, it will begin to swallow you from the feet end - always at the feet end. Permit the snake to swallow your feet and ankles. Do not panic.
7. The snake will now begin to suck your legs into its body. You must lie perfectly still. This will take a long time.
8. When the snake has reached your knees, slowly, and with as little movement as possible, reach down, take your knife and very gently slide it into the side of the snake’s mouth between the edge of its mouth and your leg. Then suddenly rip upwards, freeing yourself and rendering the snake helpless.
9. Be sure you have a knife.
10. Be sure your knife is sharp.
That is what I would call a situation that I would like to get out of. I do not know if I could handle just sitting there allowing a huge 30 foot snake swallow me whole, I would want out of that situation. Well…we may not face the fear of being swallowed by a giant Anaconda on a daily basis, but we do face big problems, stresses and burdens in life that attempt to swallow us and overtake us and many of us want a way out from those burdens. Things like…”How are we going to make ends meet financially?” “How are we going to resolve the problems in our marriage or overcome the grief of divorce?” “How are we going to stand strong against a sin we are wrestling with?” “How do we let go of the guilt we have from something we have done in the past?” “How do we forgive someone that has wronged us?” “How do we better handle and manage our time?” What do we do when we are tired, stressed and worn out?” “What do we do when a child or loved one has gone astray spiritually?” We could have lists a mile long of stressors in our lives and things we are dealing with that drag us down. These worries and questions occupy our time and energy; they bring unneeded stress to our lives. We try to figure out every possible way to work these problems out. Wouldn’t it be nice if for every big issue in our lives we had a ten-step guide to help us through it. I am sorry to say sadly, it is not that cut and dry. Burdens and hard times in life are a reality that we may never be able to fully escape, but we do have an offer for some help.
Throughout Jesus’ life and ministry he offered many different promises to his disciples. So often we as Christians fail to claim those promises. I do not know if it is because a lack of awareness or a feeling of unworthiness that hinders us from claiming those promises, but I want you to know today that the Bible is full of promises that not only are we able to claim, but God wants us to claim those promises, which can make our lives better.
Text: Matthew 11:25-30
I. Come To Me
I believe that the greatest invitation that Jesus offers is for us to come to him. This call in Matthew 11 still stands, come to me. I have heard it said that the command that Jesus spoke most often was to come and follow after him.
A. Come On His Terms
First we need to realize that we need to come to Jesus on his terms and not ours. On several occasions people wanted to come and follow Jesus and they wanted to do it on their terms. One guys first wanted to take care of some other busisness, but Jesus asked him to come now. The man wantedx to follow Jesus, but wanted to come on his terms. A lot of times people think they can set the methods wheby we come to him or how things are to be done when God has already spoken on certain issues. A lot of people think that the church is to be a democracy and that everyone should have a vote for how things are done, but we forget that we operate on his terms and not by our preferences.