Come unto Me... I will give you REST
LIM SIOK HONG
BEINGS have never before had to cope with so much psychological turbulence as
the modern man. As students, we worry about examinations and grades. Out of school,
we are anxious over our jobs and positions. We strain ourselves and try to
stretch out time so as to maintain or upgrade our living standards.
Furthermore, because we live in an age of complex human relationships, we have
to constantly cope with different types of people. It has become a common thing
hearing complaints of being “stressed”. Being “busy” has become the very
epitome of life in the modern societies.
Most of us
are familiar with the invitation of our Lord Jesus: Come to Me,
all who labour 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—I have calmed and
quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast; like a child that
is quieted is my soul (Ps 131:2). It is a call of love. Jesus sees our anxious
and weathered minds. He stands waiting with His arms open to embrace us, just
like the father awaiting the return of his prodigal son (Luke 15:20).
tearing down the layer of verse-familiarity, how many of us truly experience
the rest promised in Jesus’ invitation? Was it not a long time since we last
had a deep, heart-to-heart communion with our Heavenly Father? Haven’t our
hearts been often too distracted by thoughts of the extent of tomorrow’s
workload or the unfinished work today? Do we not wonder when these incessant
burdens will ever end? Or have we accepted such toils as an inescapable reality
there exists a discrepancy between what we should experience and what we are
experiencing; between the rest Jesus calls us into and the unrest prevalent in
our lives. There are two basic issues underlying such a discrepancy.
Our Concept of Life
concept of life directs his actions, lifestyle and the pre-occupations of his
mind. We, the true believers of Jesus, have been called out of darkness into
His marvellous 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 departmental store where
the price tags have been tampered with and switched about. What is actually of
little value is now a more highly priced than what is in fact a great treasure,
and vice versa.
says, “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses.”
This however is not what the world views. Today, man is almost invariably
valued by the amount of possessions he owns, the extent of his wealth, his
status and his power. The pursuit of these worldly
“valuables” have swept through the whole of mankind. As Christians, we
must have the wisdom from God to see these as the ploy of the Devil to hold the
world more tightly in his clutches.
cunning of the Devil lies in the delusion he creates for many of us that
worldly pursuits need not be at the expense of our walk with God. 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 backslided in faith because they were taken in by the Devil.
They could not recognise the true values of life. In
their pursuit of the worldly “valuables”, they found that they could not keep
up with a close relationship with God simultaneously. Ultimately they were
swept away. This is one reason why we continue not to see a bigger congregation
despite more names being added to the register. We continue to hear the
unheeded, repeated appeal “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”
like a vapour that appears for a little while and
then vanishes away. For how long is this vapour going
to 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 pursuits of transient “valuables” or to choose a godly life with
contentment (1 Tim 6:6).
Our Faith in Jesus’
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 sprung up to choke
the seeding in the parable of the saver (Mt 13:7).
following anecdote can illustrate such a situation: There was a man carrying a
very heavy load on his back, struggling every step on
a road. A kind man on an ox-cart came along and urged him to hop onto his cart.
Gratefully, he accepted the lift. After travelling for some distance, the
driver turned back only to be shocked that the man on his cart was still
carrying the load on his back!
salvation for us is one that has power. Jesus saves our souls. At the same
time, He also saves us from the material and mental bondage. The Bible tells us
that we can entrust all our cares to Him (1 Pet 5:7). Jesus Himself assures us:
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). So, we are precious in the sight of the Lord’ Surely He will take
care of every detail of our lives.
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 indeed 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.
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 in trust shall be your strength.” Is 30:15
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.