Tag Archives: work

Turning Weariness into Rest and Joy

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. (Mathew 11:28)

 Have you ever noticed how the same workload can seem easy one day and insurmountably overwhelming the next?

A few days ago, work seemed effortless, as I cruised along in the Rivers of Living Water, experiencing the joy of the Lord’s nearness.

However, only a day later, I  trudged through a dry dusty riverbed, pulling an overloaded donkey cart of work. Everything was difficult, stress mounted, people faded from focus.

I sit wondering what happened, Why the drastic change?

Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28 come to mind: Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Weary and heavy-laden, fatigued and over-burdened. That’s how I feel. But the work load hasn’t changed. Why has my heart shifted from delight to drudgery?

I pore over the words again, stopping at the first phrase.

Come to Me.

But I’m already with you, I thought. You’re in me and I’m in You.[1] [2]  You hold the universe together.[3] How can I be any closer to you than I already am?

I pull up my Strongs concordance app and dig into the word – “Come”

In the original Greek the word  “come” means “come hither” or “come this way”.

Jesus is always with me, but He’s asking me for a deeper “withness”.

I think of being with people in an elevator. They are with me, but unless we engage, there’s no connection.

One of my earliest memories comes to mind. I remember being woken up and seeing someone enter the room through the bars of a crib. I’m not sure who the person was, probably my mother, but they picked me up and took care of me.

Next I remember a little later being led by the hand by my great grandmother,  whom I called”Mommie,”  We were walking very slowly around a small a body of water.

I don’t know how I know it was Mommie, but I do. We must have been at my grandparent’s place in Pompano Beach, Florida. And it must have been the garden pool in the midst of their nursery she was leading me around. I was so small, so dependent on her guiding hand.

I was a mere toddler, but to this day I feel the love of those moments. Mommie led me with such tender care.

As I think back to that event in light of my current situation, clarity emerges.  

Mommie was not giving me directions from far away, expecting me to walk on my own. Her soft hand, firmly embracing my little fingers, communicated, “walk this way child. I’ll guide you and show you where to go. And I’ll support your feeble legs every step of the way.”

Wow. I’d let go of the Lord’s hand. I’d lost the joy of His presence. I’d begun to look at work as just work, instead of the adventure He wanted us to have together.

“I’m sorry, Lord,” I confess.

I feel no condemnation, no displeasure, just an invitation.

I lift my hand and hear Him say, “Come this way.”

Resttake ease, refresh, refrain, come to an end.

[1] Galatians 2:20

[2] Ephesians 2:4-6

[3] Colossians 1:17

The Christian Life is a Dance not a March

Philippians 2:12-13 (NASB)  So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

It’s easy to read the above verses and get caught up with the word “work” in the beginning and miss the incredible freedom at the end.

I’ve lived in the “work” part for far too long and just about missed the essence of the Christian life.

It started before I truly believed. Until I was 21 years old, growing up in a socially Christian family, I thought I was going to heaven because I “believed” in Jesus and thought my good “works” outweighed my bad.  In other words, I hadn’t killed anybody and performed some good deeds like walking little old ladies across the street. In my uninformed mind, this made me good enough for heaven.

Back then, my idea of being “born again,” was associated with being judgmental and living a life of rules which choked out all joy. I had no desire to live like that.

Just like everyone else, I was searching for joy in the world around me. I had no concept that the hole in my soul was eternal and could only be filled with God himself. A trip to jail brought me to my senses and turned my attention to my creator. Eventually I surrendered my life to my Lord Jesus Christ.

This was a marvelous day, but it took me years to realize the Christian life is not just something else to “work” at. Living as a Christian is so different than anything else I’d ever experienced.

Over time, and I must admit, I’m still learning it, the true nature of living the Christian life began to become clear. Christianity is not primarily about rules, it’s about a relationship with Christ.  He did the work. Ours is to respond to what’s he’s already done.

Our life is not an arduous march to a set of rules. It’s more like a dance; us responding to Christ our partner as he leads us in a  dynamic relationship.[1]

This changes everything.

“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.[2]

Spiritually, we’ve  died and Christ, by his Holy Spirit, has taken up residence in our lives. The “work” we now do is a work of dependence, yielding to Christ as he produces the fruit of his Spirit in our lives.[3]

We don’t march around like robotic soldiers to a sheet of rules. We dance with God as he leads us through difficulties as his life is formed in us.

Prayer: Most gracious, heavenly Father. I’m sorry I spent much of my life totally misunderstanding the way you interact with me as your son. You’ve not left me alone to fend for myself. You’re involved in every dance step of my life and want me to enjoy being with you through every circumstance. Draw me ever closer to you as we dance together here. I praise you that one day, I’ll see you face to face.

[1] From a conference at the Cove by Pete Briscoe about Galatians 2:20

[2] Philippians 2:13

[3] Galatians 2:20

[4] John 15:1-12

[5] John 15:5