Come to Me...and I Will Give You Rest

 
 
 

Gentle and humble, that's how God describes himself (Matt. 11:28-29). Jesus doesn't want us to know Him as a harsh, stern, or violent God. He's gentle, not proud or arrogant. He's humble, of no importance. Unimpressive. God isn't harsh or impressive. He's gentle and humble.

So, if by chance we have a miserable day, and we're not encouraged that tomorrow will be better, we can go to Jesus and put that weight on Him. He'll carry it for us. If we struggle to complete simple tasks and even the little things in life exhaust us, we can go to Jesus with that too. Whether it's the little things we can't get right or the big things that exhaust us, Jesus won't be harsh. He won't harass us. He won't add to our stress, chaos, failure, and hardships. Instead, he says, "Come to me...and I will give you rest."

Whether it’s the little things we can’t get right or the big things that exhaust us, Jesus won’t be harsh.
— Donavon Riley

In the same way, maybe the last few weeks have been difficult for you. No matter how much you dig in, you can't get any traction. You need help, but no help comes. Friends and colleagues can't help because they always seem to have something more important going on. So you dig in, even more, you grit your teeth, and you go it alone. You paddle and paddle and paddle, but no matter how much you paddle, you still get turned against the wave and are unceremoniously tossed back on the beach. But, whether you're dug in or tossed back on the beach, Jesus won't be stern. He won't act in a hostile way toward you. He won't demand that you exert more effort. Instead, he says, "Come to me...and I will give you rest."

And maybe it's not a miserable day or the last few weeks that have been rough. Maybe it's the constant, day to day measuring of each other. It's the way of life that we measure, and value, and judge ourselves and others based on success, skin color, ethnic background, education, or social status. But, not God. It's not the size of our heart or our effort that impresses Him. Whether we're exceptional or unexceptional, practically perfect in every way or shockingly imperfect, we get it right, or all our efforts prove useless, Jesus won't say, "It's not good enough." Instead, He says, "Come to me...and I will give you rest."

Jesus comes to us and says, "This is how I want to be known by you. This is how I will be God for you." When our effort is useless, and we just can't get it right, and we're never going to succeed, the One who is gentle and humble says, "I can teach you what to do with all of it because no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform you still end up tired, weighed down, and restless. You don't need to worry about measuring up to your, or anyone else's, standards."

Life is filled with stress, chaos, failure, and hardships. We'll fail. We'll likely fail often. It will be painful. It will be discouraging. But, no matter what happens, whether failure, pain, or discouragement, Jesus says, "Come to me... and I will give you rest."

No matter what happens, whether failure, pain, or discouragement, Jesus says, “Come to me... and I will give you rest.
— Donavon Riley

We don't have to be afraid. Jesus doesn't want us to know Him as a harsh, stern, or violent God. He's gentle, not proud or arrogant. He's humble, of no importance. Unimpressive. God isn't harsh or impressive. He's gentle and humble.

So, even when we quit because we can't complete the simple tasks; when we can't find someone to help us through life, and it seems that no one respects us; when we fail and life isn't fair, come to Jesus and He will give us rest. Jesus steps up, lifts us up, and never, ever gives up on us because He's our God. Gentle and humble is how He describes Himself. He comes to us and gives Himself to us in simple, earthly words, water, bread, and wine.

He calls us through the Gospel to come to Him. He lifts off the heavy load of sin, death, and judgment and baptizes us. He invites us to His table to eat His body and drink His blood so we can receive forgiveness, life, and salvation into our exhausted and weary body.

Gentle and humble, that's how God describes Himself. One voice that rises above the misery and says, "Come to me...and I will give you rest."

Donavon Riley is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author, Online Content Manager for Higher Things, a contributing writer for 1517, Christ Hold Fast, and LOGIA. He is also the co-host of The Banned Books podcast and the As Lutheran As It Gets podcast.



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