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Come unto Me... I Will Give You Rest

ARCome unto Me... I Will Give You RestWe are often entangled in a complex web of relationships and pressured with many expectations. But Jesus shows us a better way by calling us into His rest.We live in a world where there are complex human relationships and many social expectations which make our lives stressed and busy. However, Jesus calls us into His rest and will calm and quiet our souls from all the hectic busyness in life. There are two basic issues that we ourselves must address when we have trouble finding peace: 1) our concept of life and 2) our faith in Jesus' invitation.

Humans have never had to cope with as much psychological turbulence as people do today. Students worry about examinations, grades, and extracurricular activities. Those out of school are anxious about jobs and families. We strain ourselves and try to stretch our time to maintain or upgrade our living standards. Because we live in an age of complex human relationships, we also have to constantly cope with different types of people. It has become common to hear complaints of "being stressed." Being busy has become the very epitome of life in modern society.

Most of us are familiar with the invitation of our Lord Jesus: "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Mt 11:28). Jesus calls us into His rest, that we may echo from our hearts the quietness and calm experienced by King David:

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me. (Ps 131:2)

Jesus sees our anxious and weathered minds and calls out with love. He stands waiting with His arms open to embrace us, just like the father awaiting the return of his prodigal son (Lk 15:20).

Yet, aside from being familiar with these verses, how many of us truly experience the rest promised in Jesus' invitation? Hasn't it been a long time since we last had heart-to-heart communion with our Heavenly Father? Haven't our hearts been too distracted by thoughts of tomorrow's workload or today's unfinished work? Do we not wonder when these incessant burdens will ever end? Or have we accepted such toil as an inescapable reality of life?

Clearly, there exists a discrepancy between what we should experience and what we are experiencing, between the rest Jesus calls us to and the unrest prevalent in our lives. There are two basic issues underlying such a discrepancy.

Our Concept of Life

A person's concept of life directs his actions, lifestyle, and the preoccupations of his mind. We, the true believers of Jesus, have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Pet 2:9). We should no longer conform to the views about life held by the people living in this world of spiritual darkness. Today's world can be likened to a store where the price tags have been tampered with and switched about. What is actually of little value is now more highly priced than what is in fact a great treasure, and vice versa.

Jesus tells us that one's life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses. This, however, is not the world's view. Today, the number of possessions owned, the extent of one's wealth, and one's status and power are invariably the measures of a person's value. The pursuit of these worldly "valuables" have swept the whole of society. As Christians, we must have the wisdom from God to see these as the ploys of the devil to hold the world more tightly in his clutches.

The devil's cunning lies in the delusion he creates that we need not walk with God at the expense of worldly pursuits. Yet the Bible states clearly that he who loves the world will not have the love of God in his heart (1 Jn 2:15) and one cannot serve God and mammon at the same time (Mt 6:24). These are true sayings. One evidence of the truth of these verses is the very fact that many Christians are too "stressed" or too "busy" to enjoy the rest and quietude promised by our Lord Jesus. Many backslide in faith because they are taken in by the devil. They cannot recognize the true values of life. In their pursuit of the worldly "valuables," they find that they cannot keep a close relationship with God simultaneously. Ultimately they are swept away. This is one reason why we do not see a bigger congregation even though more names are added to the register. We continue to hear the unheeded, repeated appeal, "the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few."

Life is like a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. How long this vapor will last, one can never tell. No one can ever be sure he will live to see his tomorrow (Jas 4:14). It is hence a matter of immediacy that we decide how we want to live our lives. The decision is ours whether to join the world in its never-ending pursuit of transient "valuables" or to choose a godly life with contentment (1 Tim 6:6).

Our Faith in Jesus' Invitation

Even when we have chosen to opt out of the pursuits of the world, we continue to live in the world. Cares continue to surround us, like thorns that spring up to choke the seedlings in the parable of the sower (Mt 13:7).

The following anecdote can illustrate such a situation: There was a man carrying a very heavy load on his back, struggling with every step on the road. A kind man on an ox-cart came along and urged him to hop onto his cart. Gratefully, he accepted the lift. After traveling for some distance, the driver turned back and was shocked to see the man still carrying the load on his back!

The Lord's salvation for us has power. Jesus saves our souls. At the same time, He also saves us from material and mental bondage. The Bible tells us that we can entrust all our cares to Him (1 Pet 5:7). Jesus Himself has given us His assurance:

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows. (Mt 10:29-31)

We are precious in the sight of the Lord. Surely He will take care of every detail of our lives.

The cross of Jesus will save us into the eternal heaven in the future. But it also has power to grant us peace and rest amidst the heavy burdens of life. Apostle Paul exhorts thus: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which also you were called" (Col 3:15). Let us not know "Jesus cares" only in theory. Let us bring all our cares to Him and experience for ourselves the wonderful effects of a complete trust in the Lord.

More than two thousand years ago, God's message came to the people of Israel through the prophet Isaiah:

In returning and rest you shall be saved. In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. (Is 30:15)

Today, these words are all the more relevant to us, the spiritual Israelites. God is calling us to return, to examine our concept of values, to truly entrust our all to Him that we may be saved and have strength upon strength.

Publisher: True Jesus Church