Matthew 11:26-30 (MSG) “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. 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. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I have been tired. Completely physically worn out. Waking up fatigued after a good night sleep. Falling into bed unconscious before the rest of my family. I think it is the new low carb diet that I have changed over to. A healthier lifestyle including a fitness routine. Yet this morning after going to bed early and sleeping later than most days, I am still feeling the same. Sliding into the study contemplating some caffeine, I am drawn to this passage this morning. Are you tired? Yes, Lord. Worn out? Yes, Lord. Burned out on religion? I don’t think so. What is religion anyway? I looked it up in the good old-fashioned dictionary. Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power or a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance. For some reason, the belief in and worship of “a superhuman controlling power” makes me a bit uncomfortable. Is that who the Lord is to me? Is my perception of Jesus that of “superhuman” or unapproachable perfection too lofty for the wretched and weak like me? Is my Lord a controlling power bent on my submission not because of love and kindness but strict authority and unbending arrogance? Maybe I am reading too much into this today. Then again maybe not…
I am not burned out on religion because I am in full pursuit of an intimate relationship with the Living God. BUT…this comes with a mighty big but at that…the pursuit of a relationship can turn into a religion without proper leverage. Before I opened my Bible or did the first Google search, the Holy Spirit whispered to my tired, worn out heart – “Slow down. Take command of your senses. Leverage the weight back to me.” This is complete transparency. Some things have changed in my routine and schedule recently. I have added a new diet that requires planning and prep time. A new fitness routine which takes me out of the normal schedule three or four days a week. My work week is four days rather than five now. This recent change wrecks the previous schedule with longer days Monday – Thursday. I have taken on new responsibilities at church. I really would like to take some time to write a book. There is a side business that I am totally interested in starting but cannot see where to pencil it in. All these changes may not matter to someone who is not a crazy time-crunched, over-achiever, do-it-all-now person who thrives on order and control, but I believe it is the beginning of my fatigue. My life revolves around a routine. Everyone has twenty-four hours allotted and all the freedom to choose how to use it. The problem is I think I need a few more hours or maybe a dozen will do to be successful and achieve all that God wants me to do. There are times when routines become ritualistic just like our relationship with the Lord a bit religious. Oh I don’t like where this is going or how it is beginning to sound…
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (MSG) Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
For some the message today is not work harder or even smarter, it is to learn to rest more. This is not a call to laziness or lackadaisical living. The greatest struggle of faith is trust. It is the truest test of our faith to rest in the Lord for those very important promises detailed for us. He is the One who prepared the plan for a future and hope that takes all our broken parts and pieces to construct a masterpiece called new creation that far exceeds that which one can think, ask or imagine. It is all Him. The Christ in us takes the unformed substance molding and shaping us into His Image full of authority, power and dominion that further affords the rest so greatly desired. Jesus doesn’t do this from a place of ignorance but as the one who came in the form of a man, lived a perfect life, sustaining the weight and judgment of every single sin ever committed, and died on a rugged cross the most torturous death and yet He offers us a place to come to meet him. In fact, Jesus knocks on the door and says, “Let me in and let’s talk about this.” He knows a better way and shows those who come to Him desiring the love, peace, joy and….rest that only a true and abiding with Jesus will allow.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
So let’s take just a minute to talk about leverage. When God spoke the word to me, I had an idea of what it was but wanted to be sure I knew what it meant. Thanks God for the mom who posted her “child’s” science fair project online. It is load versus effort. Leverage is when a lever works by reducing the amount of force needed to move an object or lift a load. At this point, I can only think that a mustard seed of faith can move a mountain. The closer the fulcrum (or pivot point of the lever) is to the load the less effort is required to move or lift it. It is human nature to be independent, self-sufficient, self-driven, self-motivated, and self-controlled just to name a few “self-centered” concepts that are engrained in us. God did not say, “I help those who help themselves.” It is in our complete reliance and total dependence on God that the concept of faith and trust are fully understood. We must make God the fulcrum – the power, strength and authority – in our new life with Christ so that the energy of our finite human composure is fully connected to the infinite power and might of the Living God to remove the burdens, cares, worries, concerns and stress of our life as He lifts the weight of them from us. To be fully yoked to Jesus Christ creates the leverage needed that our weak energy becomes mountain-moving power needed to live the life of rest that He has already provided for us. I am trying to do everything myself and not fully utilizing the leverage of God given to me by Christ who lives in me. I must once again become yoked with Him. Move with Him. Allow His Grace to wash over me and cover my weaknesses while it proves its sufficiency. God has purposed in His Heart to teach me “to live freely and lightly”. It is up to me to keep the fulcrum (or God) in His Proper Place. He runs things not me. Christ is in me and He is enough – not me but Christ working through me is the energy that produces radical results for this ordinary person.
Psalm 90:12-17 (MSG) Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?—and treat your servants with kindness for a change. Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we’ll skip and dance all the day long. Make up for the bad times with some good times; we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime. Let your servants see what you’re best at—the ways you rule and bless your children. And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!
Lord, teach us to live well. Teach us to live wisely and well. Father we want to rest in You today and experience the freedom that Christ promised those who love Him as Savior and trust Him as Lord. Increase our faith to new limits that move mountains and cast them into the sea. Jesus teach us Your Way! The way of liberty and lightness! We love you Lord! Let Your Loveliness rest on us as You put things in order once again! You are the success of our life beginning with the prospering soul! Amen and amen!