“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30.
Isn’t that what we all need? A good dose of rest? Time where we don’t have to be thinking about what needs to be cleaned, who needs to be fed, where we must go, and what needs to be done next? That sounds wonderful! But is that really the sort of rest that Jesus meant when he said this?
In the next chapter of Matthew, Jesus goes on to discuss the needless laws that people in that day were holding themselves and others to. Unlike Jesus, the Pharisees were not gentle and lowly in heart. They mercilessly held people to unfathomable numbers of sub-laws that were loosely based on the Ten Commandments. Yes, people would find rest in Jesus—not because He asks nothing of them, but because He gives them grace.
A similar battle still exists today. It’s easy to fall into the belief that we must live up to insurmountable standards. It’s easy to fall prey to the mindset that we must earn our keep as spouses, parents, friends, and even as children of God. When we look at life this way, there will be no rest. We are never enough. True rest comes when we realize that Jesus gives us grace and that HE is enough.
Should we live our lives doing all that we can to love Him and bring glory to His name? Absolutely! But never confuse this with having to “live up to” a standard. The things we do and the way we live are an outpouring of gratitude for His love and grace, not paying off a debt to Him. Live in His grace every moment; there you will find rest.