Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
“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.”
Completely maxed out. That is where I am today, how about you? Looking at the calendar for the next five weeks, I am not exactly sure how everything listed will ever get done. Work is crazy right now. Have you ever heard of the “Kevin Bacon Theory”? Based on the six degrees of separation theory which states that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries, the idea is that this applies to Kevin Bacon (actor) consistently. It has become a game to link people by this theory. Well, I can promise you when it comes to my work-life this applies because any given task at any given time results in a call to my desk or a knock on my door. This is not a case of popularity just the result of being in the same place too long. We are currently doing a major software implementation, responding to a federal review, preparing for our reaccreditation as an institution, our principal has been removed for misconduct, not to mention our daily tasks of serving students and the general public. I work in the hub of these activities. I am at maximum capacity. My right hand in the office and one of my best friends in life was offered a new position just the other day. She was torn to even consider it because of our friendship and my impending burial in our workload. I encouraged her to do what was best for her. She argued that she feels obligated to help me complete these tasks or I would be overwhelmed. I promised her it was okay because at this point I already am overwhelmed. Life gets busy. Juggling a career, family and everything that goes with it can be a constant struggle. Some days I must remind myself as a believer that Jesus promised that His Yoke is easy and His Burden is light.
Lord, what does this mean to us? The everyday believer who cannot hide in a prayer closet or remain barricaded in the church. How can I experience the rest that you promised the weary? Where is the yoke that is gentle? I want rest for my soul today. She’s tired. Keeping on keeping on works but I know that I have been called to live in His Light. I was created for a plan and purpose called freedom that I am not experiencing in the bondage of worry, anxiety and doubt. Call it what you will but that is exactly what it is. When we worry, we have a void in our faith. When we become anxious, there is a hole in our hope. When we doubt God, we begin to be overloaded as the enemy sees the insufficiency and works to destroy us in weakness. Are you with me today? Running as fast as you can to keep up? Are you swimming and swimming but get nowhere afraid you might drown? Are you the subject of six degrees of separation with everything coming back to you? That’s a lot of responsibility for a mere human and not what the Lord has intended for you. Come to me. Jesus is saying it but are we listening. I am.
Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 (NIV)
I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
See I knew it! I knew this “free” salvation was too good to be true! Hang on! It’s not. God has given us a burden. We are to discover the Eternal Power placed inside our heart. He wants us to know Him. He wants us to see His Active Intervention in our life and embrace it. Jesus offers us a yoke which is servitude. We are slaves to sin before Jesus but become slaves to righteousness after we accept Him as Lord and Savior. (Romans 6:17-19) Freedom comes in knowing the Lord…really knowing Him. We are set free by Jesus but as humans it takes some time to understand true freedom and walk in it. If I unlock the door to the kennel our dog sleeps in, she will not get up and come to it until I open it. When she was smaller she would try to dig her way out, but now she knows better so she waits. I can unlock the door and she will remain in the crate until I slightly open it for her. We are like that as believers. Caught up in sin for so long – it takes some time to discover the freedom that we have in Jesus Christ.
Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
We are free to live any way that we choose. When we surrender our heart and life to Jesus, it is a choice to live for righteousness rather than to remain tied to the death sentence called sin. The problem is that too many times we try to live for Jesus tied to our sin. You cannot have it both ways. It is like be pulled in two totally opposite directions at the same time. You are caught in the midst of a tug of war. Something has to give or you will be torn apart. Jesus has set us free. There is no limitation on our life except that which is self-imposed. We can stand firm by faith and we will have the victory. Whoever Jesus sets free is free. (John 8:36) As we learn more and more about this Truth called freedom, we will learn to live like it. (John 8:31-32) The problem that cripples and confines most Christians is doubt. If we really believed that Jesus is who He says He is and did what they say that He has done, we would have enough faith to escape the burdens of life to live in the freedom set before us.
Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV)
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
After my friend shared her new opportunity with me at work, she kept telling me over and over again not to worry. She gave me a million reasons why she “probably” would not take the job. But truthfully between you and I – I was not worried either way. At first I thought to myself, “Oh great! You have lost your mind!” But the more I thought about it I realized it was the Peace of a Loving God seeping through the endless banter in my mind. I really don’t have to worry about life. I am free to walk with Jesus every single day enjoying the benefits and blessings of my salvation. My only concern and burden that I have is to seek the Kingdom of God above all other things. Did you hear that? I just crumpled up my “to-do” list and threw it on the floor. I have one job today. One burden. Only one care. That is to know Jesus more. To allow Him to swing the doorway to freedom wider and convince my heart by faith to step right in. There is freedom in knowing Jesus today even for all those maxed out stress monkeys like me. Thank you Jesus that I do not have to worry until I meltdown, stress to the point of overload or be anxious for anything. Thank you for once again collecting my burdens and adjusting my yoke so I am free to follow you and you alone!
Psalm 55:22 (NIV)
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be s