“If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
While here in China, I have entrusted the ministry to God’s Spirit working in and through the gifted community of St. John’s, Denver. While I have made an occasional call back to home base, it is because I miss my brothers and sisters.
I love being a pastor! I live to be a pastor! The path God has chosen for me is both thrilling and tiring—in so many wonderful ways. I am savoring this time of rest, reflection, and renewal. With clarity of thought and purpose, I can celebrate joyful ministry for decades to come. I am discovering that I have to work hard at resting.
During this time away, I realize that my attitude of “work harder and it will get easier” is both idolatrous and unhealthy for me and for the spectacular people with whom I serve. During this Sabbatical, my thoughts return to the powerful invitation of Jesus in Matthew 11:
If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 CEV).
This is contrary to our way of thinking. We think God will say to us:
- Come to me, and I will give you religion.
- Come to me, and I will give you rules and regulations.
- Come to me and I will give you rituals.
- Come to me and I will make your life easier, better or wealthier.
But God doesn’t say any of those things. He says, “Come to me, and I will give you rest.”
Perhaps the reason I grow tired is because I want God’s kingdom to come through my power instead of His. How much joy do I lose because of the stress of living by my batteries rather than resting in God’s all reaching, all powerful, all loving power source? The hardworking and hard resting prophet Isaiah oracles:
“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless” (Isaiah 40:29 NLT).
God is the source of all power. His power is a creating power, a living power, a forgiving power and ultimately, God’s eternal power is a resurrection power! God’s invitation is to invite us to work hard at resting in what he has done, is doing, and the power to carry out His coming kingdom!