The weary need rest the most yet they are the least likely to recognize it. You actually have to come to in order to recognize your need for rest. I love the way Jesus’ words are ordered in Matthew 10:31:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. When I need rest, I literally need to follow Jesus’ instructions word by word.
First, I need to come. Rest doesn’t just happen. I have to come away from what I am doing to find rest. I have to cease the frantic direction that consumes my current focus. I am constantly going unless I am coming. I’m going to places, people and things that promise contentment but never satisfy. It takes a lot of work for me to stop and rest, and the only reason I even give it a try is because I come.
In the act of coming, I come to. I come to the awareness that I am actually weary. I get tired of carrying the load myself and trying to make life work on my own. I get tired of being my own god. I’m not very good at it. I’m sure God is tired of my being my own god too. I have to come to my senses that the way I’m trying to make life work is just leaving me weary and in great need of rest.
It’s then that I turn from my wearying activities to see the Me behind the voice that beckons me to come. It is Jesus. He is there just as He promised. He is the Son of God. He is the Savior I need. He wants me to have rest and not be weary.
He has something to give me, and it is exactly what I need. It is that for which I have been searching. It is that for which my soul longs for. I find in Him rest—true, honest, soul-giving rest. It’s here that we review all the programs and pipedreams I have been chasing. I see how distorted they are and how much they keep me from truly enjoying the life I have been given on this earth. I start to notice how nice it is to have free oxygen to breathe. I walk outside and see the beauty of the summer and the cool evening breeze that refreshes my soul. I see that a casual walk with my dog refreshes my soul.
In a fallen world, we must work to find rest. Some of us work for work. I love how God showed the importance of rest as He rested on the seventh day of creation. When He formed the nation of Israel, He gave the gift of rest and Sabbath to them in the commandment to keep the seventh day holy and the seven years of rest for crops and seven groups of seven years of rest add up to the Year of Jubilee. God wants to be part of every day, but he wants me to build in one day to stop the treadmill of work to consider all that He has given me in the six days before and just enjoy the full moon that fills the night sky.
Without rest, I make life way harder than it is meant to be. God cares how I manage my time. Each day I need sleep to stay healthy and alert. My body was created to find a rhythm of rest and work.
When I get to heaven, I will enter God’s complete rest; but here on earth I want to take all the rest He longs to give me. I don’t want to miss out on the gift of rest.