Sometimes when we read the words of Jesus we think he must be speaking to someone else. Our ego tells us there is no way we could possibly struggle with some of the things other people struggle with. We begin to categorize our faults and fears and before we know it we are obsessed with religion and lacking relationship.
Jesus had many things to say to many different types of people, all of which had one essential message – Come, follow me, lay it all down, all of you.
If you have ears, listen. If you have eyes, watch. The coming of the Lord is upon us and we are missing it.
We have been instructed precisely how not to miss it – listen and watch. Believe and trust. Lay down your burdens and follow. We have been promised grace upon grace but instead we long for recognition and praise and rest. I say we, but I really mean Me. I am guilty beyond measure of missing the blessing.
Serving Jesus through the local church is not always easy. Building gospel-centered relationships with people who have wronged you is not easy. Taking care of 10 children under the age of five in a cold gym on Sunday mornings is not easy. But we were not promised easy.
Did the early church have it easy? Did Jesus have it easy? We all know the answer.
The truth is I am weary. I think I always have been. It just flares up a little more than usual at times. I have known Jesus more than half of my life. Even in seasons of distance and drift, the Spirit has always lingered close. God invites me back to his table every time, regardless of my poor manners.
Grace and mercy are not new on me. I feel that everyday. So why am I weary? Why do I complain? Why can’t I suck it up and be thankful I have the opportunity to practice my faith freely?
I may be saved by grace but I am not free of sin. That hurts sometimes. No matter how much I serve in my church or community, I will never serve enough to satisfy my soul. I will never work my way to salvation. The entire point of redemption is that I could not pay my own debt – not now, not ever. Someone had to pay it for me. Someone did pay it for me. Bless it.
When we lose sight of that redemptive vision, doubt and deceit begin to invade.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
I have a very dear friend who has exemplified true community in my life. At a time that I was weary and burdened, she offered to walk through the weariness with me. She understood my angst and hurt and burnout. She had similar struggles. It would have been easy to spend our time in gossip, adding fuel to the misplaced anger. Instead she challenged me to lay down my cynicism and pick up grace. Grace wins every time.
Dear friends – if you have not felt the weight of a weary soul, you will eventually. You will reach a breaking point and be faced with a choice. You can hold fast to what is good (Jesus! His promises!) or you can sulk in your strife and fight grace with every last breath.
Jesus paid it all so we wouldn’t have to. It’s time to stop trying and start trusting. Do not be fooled by your sin and tired spirit. Cling to the good. Cling to Jesus.
“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9