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The Call to Rest

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:25-30 NIV)

During my time in seminary, friends and family often asked, “How’s school going?” After eight straight semesters of school, the only words I could utter were, “I’m tired!” Being a single parent while working full-time and going to seminary consumed all my energy and left me speechless. I wish I had been able to express my appreciation for all that was happening:

  • How the depth of theological thought challenged and shaped me.

  • How emersion in Scripture reshaped my image of God in ways that transformed and healed me.

  • How I could finally clearly articulate how I would live out my calling.

But I had no energy to gather words for such things, so the words “I’m tired!” became my mantra.

Reflecting on that season of life, I often wonder where I got the strength to make it to graduation, especially when I consider that I often spent more time doing homework than praying. I question where I placed my faith as I worked my way through school because I was so worried about finishing that I didn’t seek God’s wisdom in prayer when mapping out my course to the finish line. Was it God who motivated my incessant drive to complete seminary?

I often heard the Lord whispering, “Come to me, I will give you rest.” Yet, I rejected God’s call to rest. Instead, I plowed forward in my own strength until I felt weary and worn out. When my burnt-out mind and body collapsed, I took only one semester off from seminary. Then, I resumed my relentless march toward graduation.

My story is much like the story of the Pharisees who were considered wise and learned. The Pharisees arrogantly assumed that their pursuit of the law through the practice of religious rituals would lead them to salvation. In doing so, they missed the opportunity to lay down their pursuit of the law so that they could rest in the life-giving salvation of Jesus Christ. Just like the Pharisees, I had become so consumed with finishing seminary that I had not noticed my lack of humility in refusing to pause and recognize the blessing of life-giving rest afforded by Jesus.

The noise of driven busyness and pride drowns out the gentle call to rest extended by Jesus. Humility – the ability to trust that God knows best – invites reflection.

  • Humility provides a break in the action long enough to allow the call to rest to penetrate the noise.

  • Humility allows us to sit silently and recognize the blessing in Christ’s offer to rest.

  • Humility reveals our stubborn dependence on self-defined agendas and compels us to become like little children who are willing to accept that which is given only by Christ.

In submissive silence, we accept Jesus’ invitation to welcome rest as we take on the easy, light yoke of Christ.

Not to worry, Christ’s yoke is not cessation from work. No, the work continues yet the burden is light. Now the work, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is done through us, rather than by us in our own prideful strength. Christ’s yoke frees us to rest because our faith now resides in the One who makes all things possible.

Are you tired of wearing a yoke other than that of Christ? If so, listen to the gentle call from Jesus, “Come to me, I will give you rest.”

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