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Summary: Everybody’s overloaded. Nobody has any margin in their lives. Everybody is trying to do so much. We don’t have time to do what’s most important because every moment is packed. This is madness. It can’t be God’s will for our lives. In our Scripture toda

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Lightening Your Load

Matthew 11:28-30

I have a friend who tells the story of borrowing a vacation trailer from a church member and taking his family on vacation to Lake Tahoe. He hooked this rather large trailer up to his car which he had never done this before and they headed north. He didn’t stop to consider that the more weight I was carrying the fewer miles per gallon I was going to get. So as he was driving through LA and the gas tank said half empty he thought that’s no big deal. This is a big tank. They started heading up the mountains and all of a sudden we had this big heavy headwind coming against us. He started watching the gas gauge drop. There was no off ramp on the road up the mountain and no place to turn around. There were no gas stations either. You just have to keep going straight up the mountain. 20 minutes before it happened he said, “We’re going to run out of gas.” I could see the needle going down. And sure enough they did. He pulled the car over to the side of the road and hitchhiked his way to get some gas, and then filled the tank. When they got to the top of the mountain, he immediately refueled. The point is the heavier the load you’re carrying, the faster you run out of gas. Today in this series we’re going to look at this issue of lightening your load.

Slide 2 Image of donkey Some of you are like this donkey, you are really on overload. I have no doubt about it. You’re overloaded physically or you’re overloaded emotionally. Some of you are overloaded relationally. You’re overloaded with work and rebuilding, you’re overloaded at school, or you’re overloaded with kid’s activities, health issues, finances and the list goes on and on. And you’re feeling the burden of the weight and beginning to run down.

Perhaps you can relate to this man’s letter, “I can’t remember the last time I felt refreshed and rested. My life has been on overload for years. There are too many expectations, too many responsibilities, too many activities and too many decisions. It all just seems like it has to be done immediately. I often feel like I’m putting my finger in the holes of a dam but I don’t have enough fingers to stop all the leaks. I’m tired of always rushing to the next activity. Even after a good night’s sleep I still feel drained and fatigued. When I look around I see that this feeling is not unique. Everybody’s overloaded. Nobody has any margin in their lives. Everybody is trying to do so much. We don’t have time to do what’s most important because every moment is packed. This is madness. It can’t be God’s will for our lives. I really want to learn how to rest and relax in God’s plan. Not just for my own health but because I can see how my kids are learning the same crazy lifestyle.” Job understood overload: “If my misery could be weighed, [my load, the burden that I’m carrying] and if you could pile the whole bitter load on the scales, it would be heavier than all the sand of the sea! Is it any wonder I’m screaming like a caged cat?” Job is on overload and in danger of burning out. He’s running on empty.

In our Scripture today, Jesus summarizes the secrets of lightening your load. This is honestly all you need to know about stress management. All of the books, seminars, tapes, conferences, pills, etc cannot equal the three strategies for reducing stress that Jesus gives. So today we’re going to look at how you can deal with the stress of life. The amount of stress in your life will not go down. You can’t control what’s going to happen in your life but you can control how you deal with it. There will always be stresses in life but you don’t have to be stressed out by it and you don’t have to be overloaded by it.

There are three keys to lightening your load. First, come to Jesus. In other words, turn to Him. In the Bible people come to Jesus for lots of different reasons. They come to ask Him a question or to be healed or to have a conflict resolved, a problem solved, or a spiritual issue clarified. But Jesus says did you know that you can come to Me for rest. But it’s not just any kind of rest: it’s rest for your soul. This is much, much deeper than physical rest. The biggest source of your stress is not worn out bodies but a tired mind. It’s tension, worry, fear, anxiety, guilt and resentment. That’s what you need relief from. Let me ask you a very personal question. When you’re stressed out, exhausted and overloaded, how do you typically unwind? Some of you say, “Let’s go to a movie.” Some say, “Let’s go out to dinner. I don’t want to cook tonight.” Some say “I have a hobby,” or you might have a sport that you like to do. Or you say, “I’m going to take a nap.” There’s nothing wrong with any of those things but they will never give you rest for your soul. It’ll rest your body but it won’t rest your spirit, your soul. There’s only one thing that can rest your soul – God. Only He can give you that inner peace which de-stresses you.

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