“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!
One of the things I used to say when I was an expert on parenting (before I had children) is that I would never say “Because I said so.” I swore to myself that I would never be like my parents when I would incessantly question them about why I had to do what they instructed me to do and they would say, “Because I said so.”
But then I told my eldest daughter to do something that seemed like a no-brainer to me. I told her to brush her teeth. She said, “Why?” My response, because I didn’t want to go into the explanation of why we should brush our teeth again and if we don’t they’ll rot and fall out, was a curt, “Because I said so and I am your father.”
One of the greatest weaknesses and fallacies of the western Church today is that we seem to have lost the idea that God is our Father. Father is a loaded word for many people, I understand that. But just because you or I have had a bad experience with our earthly father doesn’t mean that we are then required to have a problem with our heavenly Father.
Our so-called faith in the Western Church is all about us and what makes us comfortable. Oh, the term Father makes you uncomfortable because your own dad was broken and sinful? Okay then, we’ll just accommodate your sensitivities and bow to your wishes and stay away from such toxic words as “father.” It’s kind of ridiculous.
Another thing we’ve lost in the western Church is the authority of God. For us, Jesus has become our friend, our “lover”, our homeboy even. While Jesus is a friend of sinners and entirely accessible and kind and loving, He is also the risen and ascended King of glory. We forget that to our great detriment.
Let me illustrate.
Jesus’ disciples walked with him, lived with him, laughed and cried with him for three years. They say Jesus in His most human and in His most glorious and divine nature. After He was raised He appeared to them. John’s gospel records something that I want to talk about.
“After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28, NASB)
This is important. Thomas recognized Jesus for who He was; the risen Lord, God and King. Did you notice that? None of the other disciples voiced this, only Thomas.
Here’s what I’m trying to say.
Jesus is our friend, yes. Jesus is our elder brother, yes. Jesus is the lover of our souls, yes. Jesus is kind and merciful and loving and all those things. But He is also the risen King of glory. His power and authority are absolute.
His power and authority are absolute.
It really doesn’t matter if you agree with that or believe that. It is true, regardless of your belief or my belief. And because that is true, because Jesus has absolute authority (Matthew 28:18), we must give Him our undying trust and obedience and love.
We don’t get to say no to Jesus.
All throughout Scripture, God/Jesus/Spirit is asking and commanding people to do things that are vastly uncomfortable for them. I’m reading through Ezekiel right now if you need an example. God regularly asks of His people, His children that they do things they don’t want to do. After all, Jesus did what He did not want to do. He went to the cross, He suffered by taking on the sin of the world in a way that we cannot possibly fathom. But He did it willingly. Why?
Because it was the will of the Father.
Because God said so.
The sooner we embrace God’s absolute authority in our lives, the sooner we have peace. I’m not saying that what He asks of you or me will be comfortable. In fact, the Bible bears witness repeatedly that following Jesus will probably be distinctly uncomfortable. But that doesn’t mean we get to say no to Jesus and what He says because we crave our own comfort more than Him.
Let me be clear:
Either Jesus is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.
Either we are obeying Jesus or we are not. His power and authority are absolute. We need to stop qualifying our obedience and trying to bargain with God based around a selfish desire for our own comfort. Our obedience to God’s will in our lives is based solely on who He is, not how we feel about our choices.
Jesus is the risen and ascended King of glory and we obey because He said so.
Soli Deo Gloria!