Many followers of Jesus know Matthew 11:28-30 by heart. At least the first part,
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
It sounds amazing! Most of us identify with the words weary and heavy-laden. We live in a culture that almost prides itself on being weary and heavy-laden. We tell one another stories about how busy we are, how tired and overworked and important we are. Weariness happens to us just by association, and we also allow it to happen.
I like the sound of Jesus’ voice here. His words echo like cool water on a fresh burn after touching something hot. Many of us hear his words and we want what he is offering, or do we, do we really want rest? The way we structure our day, our week, our month, our year screams that we don’t really want rest. Eugene Peterson’s version of verse 28 is quiet the invitation,“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.”
How often do we really come to him and get away with him. If we want what he is offering, this almost unimaginable rest that our bodies, minds and souls crave, then we have to accept the invitation. We have to actually carve out time and space in our day to get away with him and him alone. Jesus goes on to say,
“I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (v 29) If I am reading this correctly, Jesus is actually going to be the one who teaches us how to rest. Man, we need that! We need to be taught how to rest.
The unforced rhythms of grace. What a great translation! Eugene, or should I say Jesus is onto something here. It is a rhythm that is being offered, a rhythm that we can lean into or reject. Jesus is offering us rest, offering to teach us how to rest. Will we take him up on his offer?