“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 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.” – Jesus, the Christ
Something happened last night that I want to tell you about. Since things fell apart with our re-plant here, I’ve been looking for a job. One of the things I’ve done in the meantime is drive for Uber. While it’s not perfect, it’s flexible and, in a busy city like Nashville, one can actually make decent money doing it. So I drive people around at night.
Last night, my last trip for the night, I picked up a young man from a “party barge” here in Nashville. When I pulled up, his friends had to help him stand up. Typically, I have a strict rule that people who can’t stand under their own power because of intoxication can’t get in my car. I don’t want them puking in my car.
Be that as it may, last night I let it ride. He was a young man. I don’t know how old he was but he was young. His friends said, “Thank you for taking care of him,” loaded him in my back seat and off they went. I tried to engage him in conversation but he was do drunk he could barely speak.
And, for a few minutes, I had some not very nice things to say about that young man in my own head.
As I was turning into his neighborhood, he passed out. I heard the thump of him landing partially in the back floorboard. I stopped the car, pulled him into an upright position (glad I work out so I was strong enough to do that without throwing my back out!) and asked him if he was okay. He mumbled something and leaned against the window. When I got to his house, I had to physically help him walk, almost carrying him. We got to his front door and somehow he managed to type in the code on his lock and open the door. He leaned against the wall and slurred out, “Thank you so much,” and hugged me. When I stepped back, I looked into his eyes and there it was. Through the drunken stupor, I could see it.
I walked back to my car and prayed for that young man, that the Spirit would bring him to new life, that he would hear the good news about Jesus and repent and believe. And I’ve been thinking about all this all night last night and today. I don’t remember that young man’s name but I hope I meet him again someday. I want to ask his forgiveness for my condemnation of him.
Let me be clear. I am no different than him. Neither are you.
The truth is that we are all trying to drown our pain, our uncertainties, our fears. It might not be in booze but we’re all medicating ourselves with something. My medication isn’t booze. Right now, my medication is anger and sadness and self-loathing.
What’s yours? What is it that you are hiding, what pain are you carrying, what frustration keeps you up at night? And what are you using to “medicate” it away? Is it sex, money, your job, your spouse, your kids, porn? What is it?
I love Jesus. There are so many things I love about Him but the thing I think I love about Him the most is that He is gentle. Not one single person who came before Jesus as a sinner (and they were all sinners), admitting their own need did He turn away. He wasn’t harsh or unkind to the sick and wounded and desperate and heartbroken.
No, He was kind and gentle and loving.
You don’t have to have your shit together before you come to Jesus. In fact, please don’t. Because if you’ve got things figured out and you’re all good before you come to Jesus, then it’s not Jesus you’re looking to for salvation; it’s you.
Oh, that we would all recognize that we are no different than that young man last night. We are all drowning our pain and problems in something other than what will actually help us. Jesus is looking at us saying, “Aren’t you tired? Haven’t you gotten tired of trying to fix it all by yourself? You can’t fix it. Just come to Me. Rest in Me. Rest.”
Jesus never promised that He would “fix” all your problems. In fact, He still hasn’t fixed my perceived problem. See, I think my problem is that I was wronged and now I need to make it go away and I need a good paying job and I need…..fill in your own blank.
Jesus didn’t say He was going to fix all that. What He promises us is that, if we will come to Him, we will find rest for our weary souls. You need rest. I need rest. Everyone needs rest. And one day, Jesus will return and we will know an eternal kind of rest that we can only now imagine.
Our souls cry out for rest.
That rest can only be found in Jesus. He is the Christ and He offers Himself to us. What grace, what marvelous, astounding, staggering grace!
Come, friends. Come to Jesus and find rest.
Soli Deo Gloria!
I don’t know about you but I have a love/hate relationship with the Bible.
Before you get all upset, let me explain. I love the Bible. It is God’s revelation of Himself to us, His story of redemption, His very Word to us. I read and study the Bible incessantly. I do this because it is the very Word of God. How else can I hear His voice? How else can I come to know Him except by His Word? Granted, He has revealed some things about Himself in nature, in humanity, in the world. But the primary means by which we may know God is the Bible. I love it.
I also “hate” it. I don’t mean hate as in hate hate. I mean hate as in it makes me very uncomfortable at times. God confronts me in my sin by His Word. He calls me to confession of sin and uses His Word to point out the darkness of my heart. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way,
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, NASB)
Here’s my point in all this.
I was reading this morning during my time with God…You know what, let me back up a second. I have spoken ad nauseum about all that has gone on in my family’s life over the past few years; there has been heartbreak and heartache, painful situations, tears and mourning and uncertainty. I recently, in a conversation with my dad, was talking about following the call of Jesus into ministry. Eight years ago I walked away from my law enforcement career to follow the call of the Master. My dad and I were talking the other day and I said this,
“Yeah, what a stupid decision that turned out to be. It’s caused us nothing but pain.”
Now, on its face, this is a ridiculous statement. There have been many times of joy, not the least of which is my wife and I marrying and having two beautiful children, meeting many people along the way, telling them about Jesus and many other things.
But we’re in the middle of a painful season and all we can see sometimes is the pain and discomfort. And then, this morning, I read this.
“As they were traveling on the road someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Then he said to another, “Follow me.” “Lord,” he said, “first let me go bury my father.” But he told him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go and say good-bye to those at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”” (Luke 9:57-61, CSB)
I was struck to silence and conviction and tears by the Word this morning. Not because Jesus is harsh and was mean to me but because His Word speaks directly to my heart and reveals my sin. Did you notice how many times Jesus, in this text, told someone to follow Him and they say ‘yes but…’
Yes but is not obedience. Yes but is not submission to our Master and Lord. Yes but is so us though, isn’t it? Jesus, I’ll do what you want me to do but….
Don’t ask me to actually witness to who You are and what You have done to anyone.
Don’t ask me to quit my job (that one hit me hard).
Don’t ask me to go there and do that.
Don’t ask me to move to somewhere where I know no one or away from my family.
In fact, Jesus, don’t ask me to do anything that is uncomfortable to me.
If our yes to Jesus is in any way a yes but, then it is not obedience. I’m struck by the obedience of Jesus to the will of the Father.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8, NASB)
But God is gentle and kind with us. He gives us chance after chance to repent. Maybe this is you today; it certainly is me.
Don’t hold back from Jesus. Don’t give Jesus your ‘yes but.’ Don’t look back from the plow before you. I don’t know why Jesus calls you or me to do what we are doing or what we will do. But I know that we must do what our Master bids us to if we love Him. The truth is that if we give Jesus a yes but, what we’re really saying is, “You’re not worth it, Jesus.”
Faithfulness matters more than our comfort.
What is God calling you to do? What is He calling me to do? What is it in your life and my life that we say ‘yes but’ to? Jesus said if we love Him, we will obey His commands. Hey, it’s hard for me also.
Don’t look back.
Don’t be afraid.
Pray for me. I’ll pray for you; that in all our lives the great worth of following Jesus would be shown to the world in joy and sacrifice and love!
Soli Deo Gloria!