1996-08-02 - The Invitation
Matt 11:28-30 -  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 shall find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
v28 - This is one of the most personal invitations recorded in the scriptures. "Come to Me, and I will give you rest." Psalm 23 describes the rest that Jesus promises. He leads me to green pastures, beside still waters. Paraphrased: A picture of a wide green meadow, dotted with groves of shade trees and crossed by a winding brook that opens into a still, clear pool of water as sweet as the morning dew. There are times when we need to rest, from the battle, or we need think clearly. A quiet place is invaluable.
Who has been extended this invitation? All who are weary and heavy-laden. The invitation is to the downtrodden? To the poor? The way of this present world is hard and wearing. Even good jobs come down to demands that only grow. Ministers and Missionaries must deal with the politics between church members and nations. Parents see the world as menace ever grow against their children. The Enemy continues to try to grind this world to his bidding and form. Even the drug or oil cartel leader may live behind security guards and systems in the best of homes, enjoying the best of foods. But, they dare not move from behind the shield. Death could find them quickly. Even from with the organization, they must remain constantly vigilant. They also live with burdens shackled to them. All the wine, food and good times will not totally anesthetize the reality. The wear and baggage are terrible from the bottom of society to the top. So, how does this affect the view of who is invited? Anyone who will admits that he is weary of the hard road, anyones who will admit that he is burdened by the demands of this world. We can be tied down by cares, sins or pain, but they all bind. Anyone who will admit that he can no longer do it on his own. In short, anyone. This heartfelt, open invitation to the world is a complement to John 3:16.
v29 & 30 - "Take My Yoke upon you"? Didn't Jesus just say that He would provide rest for my soul? Even in the midst of sever physical hardship, there can be rest for your soul. Body straining, but the heart at peace...filled with the peace that passes all understanding and the knowledge that God is in control. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me". When two animals are yoked together, they must work together. If they do not, at best the work will not get done, and at worst it can result in severe injury or death. Learning to walk with Jesus in His will and His compassion is liberating. The two of you yoked together become a team that accomplishes more for the Kingdom. When we do learn from Him and work in His plan, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
But how does it work? We so often chafe and strain against the yoke, sometimes with the best intentions. Jesus, in His strength, could overpower us and drag us along. The work would be done, but we would be battered and broken. Instead, Jesus is patient with us. His omnipotent power is held in check by His all-knowing wisdom. He takes the time to gently and humbly show us how to do the work, to work together in the yoke. As we learn more and more of His techniques and tools, His mercy and grace, He imparts us the skills we need to use them. Prayer and time in His word, and with our brothers and sisters, are all part of the teaching. If we stay humble, we are more apt to hear and learn from whoever God sends to us.
There is a joy in the journey and the work. God provides the heart for a task. There is a call to more things in this life for Him than we may understand. But there is one call, the constant loving call to a lost and dying world that the Savior will not silence until the Father sends Him to go and get His Bride, the church. If you have heard the call, but not yet answered, there are no strings, no hidden clauses. His salvation is free. In the transaction, He will graciously take the beaten, weary tatters of this life and give us His sinless, spotless life, a new and full heart for our old, battered heart. If you have questions, please ask. The Bible refers to the hour being late and the day long spent and night drawing near. The Spirit of God and His Bride say, "Come."
Lord, Thank You for Your gracious provision. It is complete in every aspect, so that all we have to do is stop resisting, stop fooling ourselves and admit we need Your help. You have shown us love beyond our merit and grace that we can only begin to understand. Give those who have questions, the strength and opportunity to voice them. Grant us the grace and wisdom to point to You. Amen.