Rest for the Workers

Jesus’ famous saying about rest is important: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon your, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV). One of the most important things about this is that Jesus’ rest is for those who labor. He is not giving people an excuse to be lazy. The Bible says plenty about people who are lazy and unwilling to work.

Rather, Jesus is providing shelter for those who labor. The word for rest means to “come up to” a moment of pause. There is a working or building up to a moment of rest. It’s not as if he is saying, “Keep loitering and I’ll let you take a siesta.” No, he is taking the yoke of labor upon his own neck so that the load is lighter. He’s not implying that the work will be removed.

Christians who labor have Christ beside them. He doesn’t want us to work ourselves to the point of exhaustion. He doesn’t want us to be useless to our families because we burned out along the way. That’s reckless labor. Nor does he want us to be lazy and fail to provide for others.

Jesus worked extremely hard serving people during his ministry. But he also rested a lot. At one point, a storm came upon the Sea of Galilee and, with waves battering the boat, the disciples had to wake a sleeping Jesus! He loved his sleep and often withdrew to be alone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with resting after a long day of work. In fact, Jesus insisted on it.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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