Summary: Those who come to Jesus and do life with Him will find rest for their souls. How to RSVP to Jesus' invitation to come to Him!
The Best Rest for the Stressed
Matthew 11:28-30 28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Intro: Do you ever get weary, tired, worn out? Do you feel like you are running on empty? Do you ever feel burdened to the point of exhaustion? Some of you who have been caregivers – whether to a family member, or to someone else – know what it takes out of a person to be on call continually. There are a lot of things in life that can bring us to this point. We’ve got hectic schedules. Sometimes it’s just tough getting from one place to the next throughout the day.
-A Tahoma, Washington newspaper carried the story of Tattoo the basset hound. Tattoo 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. Motorcycle officer Terry Filbert notice a passing vehicle with something dragging behind it. He commented that the poor basset hound was, “picking them up and putting them down as fast as he could.” He chased the car to a stop, and Tattoo was rescued. But not before the dog had reached a top speed of 25 miles per hour, falling down and rolling over several times.
-Maybe you’ve been living like poor Tattoo, picking them up and putting them down as fast as you can – rolling around & feeling dragged through life. (Jim Botts, sermoncentral.com)
-We all have responsibilities that must be carried out: kids to raise, a family to lead and provide for, school, jobs, things that need fixed around the house, bills, debts. We have expectations from people all around us of what they would like us to do for them. Sometimes financial pressures can press in on us causing our stress levels to climb. Experts say financial problems are one of the leading reasons that couples divorce. 60-80% of divorced people report that financial problems were the leading cause of their marital demise (http://www.stretcher.com/stories/03/03nov24f.cfm and other studies).
-Now, in addition to all of these other pressures, sometimes we add to our emotional stress by taking frequent guilt trips because we have failed to live up to standards or ideals we have either set for ourselves, or allowed others to set for us. Perhaps we even imagine that God must be so disappointed in us because we have failed in so many areas. We may be living under the dark cloud of disapproval from someone in our life who must surely know what he or she is talking about. If only we could measure up and achieve something great, then maybe our burdens would lift and we could start enjoying life. We could prove the people wrong who disapprove of us and get the last laugh and the last word!
-Well, Jesus knew what it was like to be weary, burdened, rejected, and ridiculed. He knew what it was to feel like He was on the outside looking in. It is likely that Jesus grew up labeled as an illegitimate child – as if there were such a thing as an illegitimate human being. Jesus knew what it was like to never be able to measure up to the expectations of religious leaders who enjoyed heaping rules and regulations on people but weren’t willing to help them walk through the difficulties of daily life.
-So, when Jesus spoke these words from Matthew 11:28-30 to the common people listening to Him, He spoke as one who knew how weary they were and how burdened they were. Many of them were likely poor and faced a challenge just to feed themselves and their families. Several of them likely experienced the brutality of Roman soldiers as taxes were levied against them which tax collectors doubled or tripled to make themselves rich. Others in the crowd had no doubt been ripped off by the High Priest and his thugs who would reject the lamb they would bring for a sacrifice, forcing them to buy one from the temple at twice its value. Jesus loved the common people and helped them out at every opportunity. These verses give us a glimpse of Jesus speaking life and hope and true rest and peace to people who were hurting and tired and beaten down by life. Jesus extends the same invitation to each of us! And that is what I’d like to talk about today for a few minutes.
-Prop: Those who come to Jesus and do life with Him will find rest for their souls.