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Toledo UBF Message Preaches Finding Rest in Men Rather Than God

On Sunday, July 16, the Toledo UBF messenger delivered a message based on Matthew 11:20-30. The key verse is Mt: 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” The following is an excerpt from the message.

“Third, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me” (28-30). Let’s read verse 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Sometimes I see people having difficulty in accepting certain passages in the Bible. But Matthew 11:28 is usually not one of them. In general people are very happy to hear Jesus’ invitation and are really glad to hear Jesus’ promise “I will give you rest.” Who among us does not like to rest? The truth is we need rest, both for our body and for our soul.

When I first prepared this message, I rejected the thought that rest includes physical rest for our bodies. I readily understood that Jesus gives rest for my soul. But could Jesus really give rest for my body? I realized that this attitude is really a reflection of my careless stewardship of my body. As some of you know, I had my second hernia surgery three weeks ago. Why did I have to have two hernia surgeries? It is only because I foolishly lifted more than I could handle and proudly refused to ask for the necessary help for moving. Rest for my body has been my last priority. Due to lack of regular exercise, my stomach muscles became weak. Now I can lift almost nothing and my body is broken. So now I repent and will come to Jesus for both physical and spiritual rest. In order to prepare my body for a lifelong mission of house church ministry, I’ve decided to find ways of regular exercise. 1 Corinthians 6:19 states: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”

While we may readily agree that Jesus’ promise sounds good for the future, we may also be wondering if Jesus really can give us rest today, right now. No one else may understand our specific, personal burdens. Moreover, my idea of rest may be quite different from other people’s idea of rest. How can Jesus give rest to all people who have so many different kinds of burdens? At our group Bible study, one person said his idea of rest was a bike ride. Another person said rest was a good nap. What one person thinks of rest can be a burden to someone else. That’s one reason why it is so difficult to really help people. But Jesus our Good Shepherd knows exactly how to give each person rest.

In the Bible, we see that Jesus has much wisdom and many ways to give rest. Sometimes Jesus immediately removes the burden of people. For example, Mark 1:42 reads: “Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.” But other times, Jesus did not take away the person’s burden right away. For example, Jairus had a great burden because of his sick daughter. But instead of removing this burden, Jesus allowed him to experience an even greater burden of hearing the news that his daughter had died. Yet at the right moment, Jesus gave rest to Jarius {sic}by allowing him to experience the joy of his daughter’s resurrection to life. Jesus’ promise is true. Jesus will give you rest when you come to him. This is not only a promise to be fulfilled when we get to heaven, where we will have no burdens. This is Jesus’ promise for today.

Look at verses 29-30. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” A yoke keeps two oxen together, going in the same direction. Typically when we think about rest, the word “yoke” does not come to mind. A yoke gives us an image of a task master, cracking the whip to keep the oxen moving. But here Jesus described himself as “gentle and humble in heart”. He said “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus is our Good Shepherd, who gently yet firmly leads us in the right direction. To take Jesus’ yoke is to be united with Christ.

Still the concept of taking the yoke of Jesus is an elusive and even confusing idea. We may wonder why Jesus compares us to smelly oxen. How we actually come to Jesus and take his yoke? If we are weary and burdened, we to come to Jesus. As we read the honest struggles in the book of Psalms, we cry out to God in our agonies of soul and burdens of life. We speak to God. This requires great deal of practices. As Christians we need to learn how to perfect our conversational skills with God—our real big Boss in heaven and earth.

Practically, we can find rest through Christian fellowship that reflect the real presence of Christ Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” When we come to the fellowship of believers, we must come in Jesus’ name. It is to have gentle and humble spirit of our Lord Jesus. Leaders are humble and gentle to hear to cries of souls and touch the bruised emotions of fellow believers. For this we all need to learn Jesus who is humble enough to welcome sinners and gentle enough to listen to them. For example, some people asked me how I could find rest by coming to Toledo UBF and delivering a message. The way I found rest was not by doing less work. It was by meeting and praying together with fellow believers in Toledo. I know that they love me. They welcome my presence. In the course of talking to our leaders in deep conversations and fellowships, my spirit is revived. My emotion finds rest. My burdens are still there, yet the peace of God dwells within me."
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