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Serving Jesus from a place of rest
The title of my message today is “Serving Jesus from a place of
rest”. This message has been on my heart for the last few months. I
touched on our Bible reading in the December newsletter and it has been
building since then.
All of us know what it is to be busy, some
of us know what it is to be too busy. We experience busyness of life and
work, the busyness of kids and school, the busyness of church and
serving in volunteer roles and some even experience the busyness of
retirement. Rather than winding down, retirement for some is a winding
up! We all probably know what it is at times to feel like we are two
steps behind our bodies. This is how my Mum described the tiredness of
working 35 years as a night shift nurse.
Today I want to share
this message as a new year is upon us and many of the things we do are
starting to wind up. So before all the rush begins I want us to stop and
reflect on the call of Jesus that is found in today’s reading.
Matthew 11:28-30 says, “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
At the heart of
these verses is an invitation. An invitation to come to Jesus and an
invitation to live differently. Today I want to share four things I love
about this passage.
1. Jesus invites us to Himself
“Come to Me”. He invites everyone to come and get to know Him and spend
time with Him. It is a personal invitation, but it is also to everyone.
We see this in the “all who are weary”. It is an invitation to intimacy
like He has with His Father.
In the New Testament, we see that
Jesus often drew aside to spend time alone with His Father. In Mark 1:35
it says, “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to
an isolated place to pray.” He needed time alone with His Father to
connect with Him and receive orders.
He also called the disciples
away to be alone with Him. In Mark 6:31-32 “Then Jesus said, "Let's go
off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile." He said this because
there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles
didn't even have time to eat. 32 So they left by boat for a quiet place,
where they could be alone.”
Jesus invites us to Himself. He wants
us to spend alone time with Him. He promises help for those of us who
are weary. So to be effective in serving Jesus from a place of rest,
remember Jesus invites us to Himself first.
invites us to take on His yoke
In old style farming a yoke was used to join two animals together.
Side by side they would work, until the work was done. Often an older
more experienced animal was put with a younger animal. By working with
the older animal, the younger one would learn what to do and be under
By using the yoke analogy, Jesus invites us to
partner in the work He is already doing in the world and take on His
teachings. It is a very different yoke that the religious leaders of
Jesus’ day who loaded people up with all types of rules, regulations and
works. Jesus invites us to work in His mission field and walk in His
ways. In this life, it is easy to get caught up in doing all kinds of
“good” things and fulfilling our “religious duties”, but Jesus invites
us to be involved in His work and walk with Him. To put on His yoke and
join in with Him. It is a much lighter yoke with a much lighter burden.
In John 15:1-5 it Jesus reminds us of the importance of being
connected to Him when He says, “I am the true grapevine, and My Father
is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of Mine that doesn't produce
fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will
produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the
message I have given you. 4 Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For
a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you
cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me. 5 "Yes, I am the vine; you
are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce
much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.
When we are
connected to the Vine with His yoke upon us we are at our most
effective. We receive life, energy and wisdom from the Creator of the
universe. We also receive the direction that being yoked to Christ can
So to be effective in serving Jesus from a place of rest,
it is important to take on His yoke and not the yoke of the world.
3. Jesus invites us to learn from Him
wants to teach us a different way to live. Jesus wants us to follow Him
just like He asked the first disciples to follow Him. He promises that
He will be gentle and teach us from a humble heart. I don’t know about
you, but that is my kind of teacher.
How do we learn from Jesus
- We read and memorise the words He said in the Bible – the Sermon
on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 is a great place to start.
- We read and reflect on His interactions with the people He met –
Matthew chapter 8 onwards deals with this.
- We read the prayers He prayed – The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew
6:9-13) and Jesus’ prayer for the disciples in John 17.
- We see how Jesus dealt with temptation from the devil and how He
responded with Scripture three times in Matthew 4:1-11.
Not only can we learn from Jesus, we can also learn from the other
writers of the New Testament. In a number of places in the New Testament
the Apostle Paul likens this life to running a race.
- Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses
to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down,
especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with
endurance the race God has set before us.
The important thought
in Paul’s writing is running the race that God has set before us and to
run with endurance. As I said it is easy to get caught up in doing all
types of good things, but the best way is to throw ourselves into the
things that God has created for us to do and planned before the world
began (Ephesians 2:10). And to run with endurance means to pace
ourselves. We can’t sprint at the start of a marathon as we would pass
out quickly. We need to run at a pace we can sustain to finish the
distance. That is what it is like serving God.
So to be effective
in serving Jesus from a place of rest, we must learn from Him and the
other writers of the NT.
4. Jesus promises us rest and
The last thing we can learn from these three
simple verses is that Jesus promises us peace. If we respond to Jesus’
invite to come to Him, to take on His yoke and to learn from Him, He
promises us peace.
John 14:27 - "I am leaving you with a
gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world
cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.
Psalms 29:11 - The
LORD gives His people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace.
The peace Jesus gives us is a peace not of this world. It is a peace
that calms us in the middle of the storm. It is a peace that lets us
know God is in control though the world around us is failing. It is a
peace that knows the eternal God has everything, even our eternal
destiny, under control.
My weariness test
Before I finish I want to do the weariness test that I give myself
every now and then. I want to use the letters of the word weary.
W – Am I working day and night? Or am I waiting
on the Lord and responding to His promptings?
E – Does
everything depend on me to get done? Or does everything
depend on God and I just play my part?
A – Am I always rushing around? Or am I
allowed to relax and have time off to do the things I enjoy?
R – Am I restless? Or am I
resting in Christ?
Y – Am I saying yes
to everyone and everything? Or am I yielded to God?
If my answers were more on the left, I may be weary and need to hear
Jesus’ call afresh to “Come to me all who are weary?”
As I said earlier at the heart of these three
simple verses are an invitation from Jesus…
1. Jesus invites us
to Come to Him
2. Jesus invites us to Take on His yoke
invites us to Learn from Him
When we do, we experience His peace.
A peace that is not of this world. And we can run the race in a way that
does not make us weary.
By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSION Australia
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