Ah, summertime! The season of vacations, a more relaxed pace of life, adventures, and warm weather. “In the good old summertime….” Summertime is such a wonderful time of year.
But our society is one in which most Americans take little to no vacation time. The drive to produce creates the sense that I always have to be “productive.” A friend of mine recently sent me an article naming the top ways to actually unplug from work during your vacation. Let’s be honest, we really don’t know how to relax!
And the cost of that inability to let go of stress and our drive to produce is one of the highest consumptions of prescription drugs in the world, general dissatisfaction with our work, stress on our relationships, and physical ailments. A recent study says that the average American checks his smart phone on average of 150 times a day. Whew, I’m exhausted just writing that.
This lack of balance in our lives is completely antithetical to spiritual health, peace, and maturity.
Listen to the words of the Lord Jesus in today’s Gospel lesson: “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 11:27-30) If ever there were a passage tailor-made for modern society, it’s this one.
The path to balance and peace in our lives runs through the wise direction of our Lord in this passage.
First, it all starts with a Confession. Our Lord invites “all who labor and are heavy laden” to come to Him. The first step in this journey to peace and rest starts with admitting you don’t have either. It isn’t enough to complain about your schedule, to complain about your busyness. You have to actually move beyond complaining to actually asking for help.
Next, realize that peace and rest are a Gift. “I will give you rest.” Go to the Giver of Rest and the Prince of Peace and receive what you need. Stop all this fruitless dependence on outward circumstances to finally be perfect so you will be happy; and go to Him Who made you. He will GIVE you rest.
Of course, you’l actually have to “take” the Gift, and that leads to the next step in this journey of Peace – Revelation.
The Revelation that His burdens are actually lighter than all those other burdens you are carrying is a huge A’HA moment. The disciplines of a consistent following, learning from, and receiving the wisdom of Christ make for a completely different lifestyle than the “dog eat dog” “gotta climb that corporate ladder” “can’t let the neighbors get ahead of us” mentality that wars against true rest and balance!
If you are going to ever know true rest, rue contentment, true peace, it will only be as you trade the burdens you are carrying all by yourself for the “light” burdens of Jesus. They are infinitely better for your soul, your family, your career, your life, than all the fruitless striving in a world intent on eating you alive! Don’t let stubbornness, pride, or mere fear keep you from the rest gently and lovingly offered to you today from the Lord Who longs to lift those heavy burdens you’ve been carrying all by yourself. A life of focused faith is a life of peace and rest regardless of the outward circumstances.
Doesn’t that sound wonderful?