“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, ESV)
We are just days away from shutting the door on the first half of 2019. I feel like I have lived a full year’s worth of travel and ministry inside these first six months. While it has been full of impactful and life-giving opportunities, my body and soul have also felt heavy laden (overloaded, heavily burden) and tired.
I’m an introvert and relational ministry exhausts my limited energy supply. Pockets of alone time help me recharge, but even in that space, I rarely turn off my brain on any given day. There is always something more to do. Have you ever felt the same?
Three months ago, I booked a rare vacation to visit friends in Prince Edward Island (PEI) in the middle of my busy season. I didn’t know then that the timing of this trip would be providential, as I found myself needing to find rest for my soul.
As I flew to PEI, I held a small measure of hope for what the days might offer me. What I experienced surpassed any expectation I believed possible and my soul was given a cold drink of exhortation, just like the one from Jesus in today’s scripture. Rest for my soul came in delightful and beautiful ways: sweet fellowship, authentic conversations, laughter, play, walks on the beach, sand golf, and kind hospitality. PEI is a beautiful place, but it was the shared company that offered my heart the chance to breathe and slow down.
The Greek word for rest is anapauo. It can mean several things: to cease; to give rest, quiet, recreate, refresh; to rest oneself. One derivative says to rest with or together. A yoke is the picture of coupling any two things together, like two oxen used to plow fields in the first century.
My soul rested and experienced the lightness of Jesus’ yoke as I spent time with my sweet friends and as we explored the beauty of God’s creation…together. Conversations were easy and encouraging. God’s beauty dazzled us in the wild lupins and red sand beaches. We played in the low tide of Northumberland Strait (using one club to hit a ball to different targets in the least amount of shots) like young children at play.
Laughter coupled with contemplation. Silence colliding with the singing of birds. Sunshine, rain, and wind tingled our faces. Stories were shared with care and held with honor. Jesus’ yoke was light and his embrace gentle.
Is your soul heavy laden and in need of rest? Jesus is waiting for you to take his yoke and learn from him. Companionship with him, and with others, will lead you to find rest for your souls.
June 27, 2019
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