Day 112: Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.

What a beautiful message from God for his special son, whispered into his ear as a blessing and encouragement. This is the message that has delighted Jesus so much (see Days 110 and 111).  This is what God wants to say to his people.  It is what God wants Jesus to teach and demonstrate with his life.  He invites Jesus to make this his mission.  He wants to help his people with all their struggles.

The fact that Jesus is delighted with this prophetic word reveals so much about his heart.  He doesn’t resent the idea of helping people.  He is happy to help people’s burdens.  He is thankful for mission this mission, and this reaction reveals his tender heart.

God tells Jesus that this is his mission – to lighten the load for the people of God.  I believe that the “heavy loads” are not just the burdens of life, but the burdens of the Law of Moses in particular.  God’s Laws had become a burden instead of a blessing because of the way they were being implemented by the religious authorities.  The Law should be life-giving and make life better, not worse.

God also sent Jesus to release people from the burden of disease through healing and deliverance ministry. Jesus released the outcasts from the burden of separation from their God by reaching out to them with kindness and acceptance. All of this was his consuming passion, his holy obsession, his joy.  All of it enabled with the help of Father God, with whom we are all yoked.

In this scripture Jesus reveals that God is a good Father to us all (Days 111).  Like any good father, his goal is not to enslave us or to burden us or beat us into submission.  He is not a mean and angry taskmaster.  He does NOT want people to suffer.  No, God reveals that he is humble and gentle!  Imagine God saying that he is humble and gentle!  He wants Jesus to be a humble and gentle.  He wants us to be humble and gentle, and he wants to teach us how to get there.  He wants to teach us through the life of Jesus.

The challenge he sets before us is the work that needs to be done to make the world a better place.  He invites us to choose to make this our life’s work. The work he gives us will be perfectly suited to our skills and abilities, so it won’t even feel like work because it is so light.  And all of this will give us the peace of mind sense of purpose that we seek. It won’t be a burden at all.

Over the years I’ve experimented with a lot of different kinds of ministries.  Usually it seems like the things that are the most difficult are the least fruitful. If it feels like a heavy burden, then it’s usually because you’ve taken on an assignment that doesn’t belong to you. If feels forced you have to let it go because it’s not your task.  Because when God’s behind you, ministry becomes a joy.

Image

I had a great time directing the Granville UMC Angelic Voices.

I experienced this with my work with the Angelic Voices.  When we started getting African American kids at our church in Chicago, they didn’t understand why we weren’t singing real “church music” (they meant Black Gospel music). I felt a call to try to make it happen.  I found out that I could buy a synthesizer that enabled me to create my own accompaniment soundtracks so that I was singlehandedly able to both direct and accompany a children’s choir. I had to learn all about Gospel music.  At that time there weren’t any written musical scores for that kind of music so it all had to be done by ear.  I recorded hours of music from the radio each week so I could select and replicate the latest songs without having to buy them.  The kids wanted to sing every week and so that required me to create a continual flow of of new tracks for the first couple of years. Each song took many hours to create.

When I think back I don’t know how I was able to do so much extra work when I was already working more than full time as a geographic research manager, and also working at the church as the music director.  But somehow it was easy.  The kids loved it, I loved it, and so did the congregation.  We all got a lot out of it.  God must have been doing most of the heavy work because my burden was light.  It quieted my soul and rested my spirit.

So I’m very grateful to Jesus for sharing this special word he received from God.  It’s a beautiful prophetic word from Father God.  A word of comfort and hope.  He wants to help us, teach us, and work alongside us as we are yoked together to do those things that will help us relieve the burdens of others.  I love this image. God reveals the gentle, humble, helpful, fatherly side of his nature.  If we obediently follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, God will transform us and help us make great things happen, and all the while our burden will be light.

What does this scripture say to you?

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