Finding true rest
By KEVIN DANIELS
Statements of Faith
Do you feel tired? Overworked? Stressed out? Frazzled?
I think we all do at times -- sometimes more than others.
In today's 24/7, always-on culture, it is hard to step away from the stress and strains that are placed on us. After all, we are only one cellphone call away from being reached by any number of people who can demand our time, energy and effort.
Do you ever wonder how calm and serene life must have been in an earlier time in history -- a life before telephones, email and high-speed transportation?
Well, before we get too sentimental about yesteryear, we have to realize that even in Jesus' time there were people who felt frazzled. The source of the pressure might have taken a different form, but the pressure was there, nonetheless.
Jesus' response to this craziness is found in Matthew 11:28: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Jesus spoke these words talking to a group of people who were being crushed under the pressure of the law. The leaders of the Jewish people, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, had taken the law of the Old Testament and added to it specific rules and expectations that were impossible for people to follow.
Yet instead of trying to encourage the people to follow the law, the leaders would stand before the people and tell them how great they were at keeping the law themselves. Instead of sharing their personal struggles with the people who were burdened under the law, they further discouraged them.
Does this kind of pressure to perform sound familiar?
I'm afraid it does.
As New Testament Christ-followers, we are no longer under the law of the Old Testament, but we sure do have a lot of "rules" we are supposed to follow. It seems like every time we turn around, there is another demand placed upon us by the latest sermon, book or radio program.
It gets rather tiring trying to live up to these expectations.
Jesus' response to us, just as it was in his time, is "Come to me ... I will give you rest."
The bottom line is we cannot earn our salvation. It's not possible. And while there are characteristics and behaviors that are certainly part of becoming more like Jesus, no matter what we do, our salvation is found in Christ. No works we do can save us.
Isn't that refreshing? Doesn't that sound like rest?
I encourage you to, yes, make decisions that are consistent with Scripture, but take comfort and rest in the fact Jesus loves you and accepts you as his child. There is nothing you can do to change that.
That is the true rest found when you choose to follow Jesus.
The Rev. Kevin Daniels is pastor of Hays Christian Church, 22nd and Marshall, hayschristianchurch.org. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.