Today is Labor Day. I have on my “Best Dad” tee shirt, I am getting the grill ready to make the best burgers ever, and I slept till 10am! Why? Because today is a day of rest. It feels SO good.
There is a very well-known Scripture we hear quoted a lot when we need rest. It is found in the Book of Matthew:
“Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NCV
We use this Scripture to talk about rest from physical labor. But that’s not what Jesus is talking about. Let’s read the rest of the passage:
“Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.” Matthew 11:29-30
What Jesus is talking about here is rest from religion! Rest from living under the burden of a man-made religious system of rules that you can never measure up to.
Do you ever feel like you have not read enough of the Bible, given enough, shared your faith enough, or prayed enough to be acceptable to God? If so, that is the guilt of religion – never doing enough!
When I was in my early twenties, I was sitting in a chair in my one-bedroom apartment just paralyzed from a suffocating feeling of failure because I was not praying consistently. As I sat there the Lord said this to me:
“You never have to pray again.”
It was not a rebuke, or like God was offended that I wasn’t praying, and it certainly wasn’t a successful strategy for living the rest of my life by. Rather, it was Him releasing me from the obligation of prayer.
He was saying, “I love and accept you whether you ever pray again or not.”
Do you know what happened next? I hit my knees and had the most joyful prayer time I had ever had.
Christianity is about grace. It is an invitation to a joy-filled friendship with the living God Who made you and loves you. It is about spiritual rest for your soul, not trying to earn God’s favor. He knows you and I could never earn it, so He gave it to us freely.
“The payment for sin is death. But God gives us the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NCV
The reality is, God is the best Dad ever! He paid for everything so we could rest with Him – every day of our lives.
On this Labor Day, take a rest from religion and enjoy life with God.
Do you labor under the burden of feeling you are never doing enough for God? Where do you think that comes from? What do you think the answer is to getting out from under that burdensome yoke?
Do you find your relationship with God to be joyful or stressful? What do you think Jesus was saying in today’s passage and how can you apply it to your life?