Summary: Our part in receiving God’s promised Rest
Have you ever just had one of those days or weeks where everything seems to be falling apart around us or the pace of life seems overwhelming and we’re not sure how much more we can handle?
A while back, I found a newspaper article online from Tacoma, Washington. It was the story of a Bassett Hound named Tattoo. Tattoo was not a big fan of exercise and didn’t intend to go for an evening run, but when his owner shut the dog’s leash in the car door and took off for a drive – with Tattoo still outside the vehicle, he had no choice. A motorcycle officer noticed the passing vehicle with something dragging behind it. He commented that the poor basset hound with it’s short little legs was, “picking them up and putting them down as fast as he could.” He chased the car to a stop, and Tattoo was rescued. The dog had reached a top speed of 25 miles per hour, falling down and rolling over several times but survived and was unharmed.
When we have one of those days, or weeks, or months, or for some of us it’s the only lifestyle we know, we’re a lot like Tattoo, our legs just don’t seem to be long enough and we’re picking them up and putting them down as fast as we can as we try to keep up with life– falling every once in a while and rolling around & feeling as if we’re being dragged along.
Maybe it’s the pressures of your job, early mornings and late nights have become the rule instead of the exception. Your workload is like digging a hole in the sand, no matter how much you take out, there’s always more that pours back in. We probably could handle just that, but on top of job stress and responsibilities, there’s more. We face financial pressures, mortgages, college bills, retirement planning and savings. There are family responsibilities too, you are expected to be a good husband or a good wife. Marriages need to be worked at and that takes time and energy. If you have kids in the house you are expected to parent them to the best of your ability as well to ensure that they have everything that they need and that they turn out alright so that people won’t think that somehow you messed them up! That’s a lot of pressure. We’re expected to involve them in everything that we can so that they are well rounded and to cart them here and there as their busy schedules demand. Sports, school activities, brownies, boy scouts, play dates, all of these are good things but boy can they take a lot out of you as a parent and as a family.
We have a lot going on in our lives, our day planners are jam packed with people to meet, places to go and things to do and to get done.
Time magazine noted that back in the 60’s, that expert testimony was given to a Senate sub-committee on time management. They predicted that advances in technology would radically change how many hours a week people worked. They forecasted that the average American would be working 22 hours a week within 20 years. “The great challenge,” the experts said, “would be figuring out what to do with all the excess time.” Over 40 years later, after major advances in technology – how many of us are wondering what to do with all the excess time on our hands?
Life isn’t always what we thought it would be. It’s hard! It drains us, it depletes the energy that we have. For many of us it’s go, go , go, from the moment we rise until we close our eyes at night. Most of us could use a good long nap and to forget about everything that’s going on for a little while or for our world to slow down long enough for us to catch up and catch our breath. All of us need and desire rest.
As we look at the book of Matthew this morning, rest is exactly what Jesus offers. Listen to verses 28-30 in Chapter 11. Rest for the weary, relief for the burdened, rest for the soul. Sounds nice doesn’t it? Where do I sign up? What do I need to do to get that? Before we look at this beautiful promise of Christ to the people that He loves and came to save, and what it requires of us, I want to get us caught up quickly to what else is going on in this chapter.
The disciples have just been sent out as we looked at last week. Verse one tells us that Jesus also goes out to preach. While He’s out, some men come to him from John the Baptist, who has been arrested and put into prison. Now, this is a very interesting part of the story. Do you remember way back at the beginning of this series when we looked at John the Baptist? He was a man that had been filled with the Holy Spirit from before birth. When Mary, Jesus’ mother visits Elizabeth, John’s mother, John, who is still in the womb, leaps for joy in the presence of Jesus, who is still in the womb. John knew who Jesus was before they were even born. Later, as Jesus comes down to be baptized by John, John witnesses the heavens open and the Spirit descend on Christ and hears the words of God the Father, “This is my Son, in Him I am well pleased.”