Summary: Jesus invites us to both come to him when we are tired and to take his yoke upon us. There are practical ways that we can do this that can have a major positive impact in our lives.
AUGUST 13, 2006
Matthew 11:25-30 “How To Lighten Your Load”
For the past several weeks, we have been “Discovering Balance” in our lives. This is not the normal light summer topic; something a pastor cruises through in order to fill the Sundays before the crowds return and the real preaching begins. Balance, as we have discovered, is an essential element to the abundant life that God provides for us through the cross of Jesus Christ.
We have previously focused on slowing down, keeping awe in our lives, and balancing work. In the future, we will look at our focus and how to simplify our lives.
Today we will discover how to lighten our load. Archimedes once declared that he could lift the world if he had a lever long enough. When we look at the loads that we care, we discover that much of it we can’t simply drop and never pick up. Family, work, leisure activities, religious commitments, and a host of other items can’t be neglected. Lightening our load is more a way of leveraging what we do rather than lessening what we do. It’s rolling a large suitcase through the airport rather than carrying it—the traveler’s load is lightened.
JESUS, REST FOR THE WEARY
For centuries, the word of the gospel text to today have brought comfort millions of people. Jesus words are an open invitation to lightened our load and find rest and renewal so that we can continue our journey.
Some of the loads that we carry are burdens that we should not have picked up. We worry about the loss of a job, our children’s success in school, our finances, and a host of other items. We can lighten our load by bringing our worries and concerns for which we cannot control the outcome to Jesus in prayer--Usually we have to come to Jesus over and over again in prayer until we can finally lay things down and keep them in the hands of Jesus.
There are times that we must simply release things to Jesus. We still work hard to accomplish our goals and finish our tasks, but we release them to Jesus and acknowledge that God is the one who is in control.
We find rest communing with Jesus—being silent and surrounding ourselves in his love and acceptance. This is one understanding of Christian contemplation or Centering Prayer.
These are ways that we can get leverage on the loads that we carry that allow us to carry them throughout the day.
BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS
Another wonderful gift that God has given us to lighten our loads is the gift of community. Paul writes to the Christian church and exhorts us to “bear one another’s burdens.” The Christian faith was never meant to be lived in isolation, or to have the single minded “me and God” that is so emphasized in American culture today. Being in community allows us to bear each other’s burdens.
Bearing burdens is a two-way street. We need to be open with others with our struggles and burdens—open to ask for help and allow people to help us. We also need to be open to being asked for help and considering it our Christian responsibility to bearing another’s burdens when asked.
Desert Streams has been challenged to bear the burdens of others in the past and we will continue to hear these requests in the future. We have responded positively when asked. We have helped each other through moves, loss of jobs and health issues. We know what it is to give until it feels good. Not only do we bear the burdens of our individual faith community, we also bear each other’s burdens through projects like Habitat for Humanity, Angel Tree, School Supply collections, Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran Disaster Relief, even Fair Trade Coffee.
THE YOKE OF JESUS
Jesus not only invites people who are tired and weary to come to him and find rest. He also invites them to take his yoke upon them because his yoke is easy and his burden is light. We like the idea of resting in Jesus, but we’re not too sure about the second part of the invitation—to take Jesus’ yoke.
The yoke of Jesus is the burden of love. Jesus tells his disciples, “This is my command, that you love one another.” The early Christian church was known for their great love for each other. One Roman official wrote to his superiors, “Behold these Christians, how they love one another.”
Love lightens the load. Dads carry their children remarkable distances when asked, because of love. Parents make huge sacrifices because of love. Teachers make the effort and touch lives because of love. Love empowers us to big and small actions that meet needs and change people.