“(Jesus said,) ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’” (Matthew 11:28, NIV).
As a kid, I had this reoccurring dream, a nightmare really. I don’t remember many of the details. What I do recall is that I’m standing beside a large body of water. As each of the water’s waves crashes onto shore, it brings with it a huge, what-I-can-only-describe-as, blob, which I must somehow push aside before the next one inevitably arrives. It’s a never-ending, blob-moving, exercise in futility, and proves to provide a pretty traumatic experience for a young boy.
The dream seemed to occur most frequently when I was experiencing a good deal of stress. The burdens of adolescence seem a bit trivial now, especially when compared to the many responsibilities and endless demands of adulthood. Over time, the menacing stress blobs of misplacing my homework and forgetting my locker combination surrendered to the blobs of managing a career and paying a mortgage.
Jesus knew that we would have stress, and he offered some very practical advice, “‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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’” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).
I find it ironic that Jesus commands his followers to take his yoke and carry it, as if we needed something else to weigh us down. But Jesus says that his yoke is not burdensome. In fact, by trading our stresses for his, we will actually find the best possible rest.
This burden-trading experience reminds me of the great exchange that took place at the cross, where Jesus took our sin in his flesh and offered us his perfect righteousness in return. Jesus’ invitation and command it that we would place our burdens, along with our sin, upon his strong shoulders, and experience the freedom and peace that follows.