A pastor friend of mine once had a recurring dream. He was on a baseball diamond with glove in hand. Suddenly, balls were hurled at him from all directions. He frantically tried to catch and return each one, but there were simply too many. He got pelted repeatedly until he gave up.
There’s a weightiness that comes with responsibilities in life, and we all feel those burdens. For some it’s performing at school, in sports, or at work. For others it’s juggling people’s schedules and needs, while treading above water with our own. As kids we often took for granted the simple fact that our parents had food on the table every day, clean clothes in our closets, and shoes that fit us on our feet, never considering the sacrifices it took to make all of that possible.
Adulting has become a verb for good reason, but for me parenting has been a more meaningful one. On June 7, 2004 a whelping boy was placed in my arms. I looked into his tiny brown eyes and felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. Two more kids later that weight hasn’t left, only grown and shifted.
Since then I’ve worked through schooling, paying bills, and even serving as a pastor. I never had recurring dreams like my friend did when I had the privilege to be a pastor, but I faced plenty of criticism, doubts, and pain. Some of that still lingers.
I put off the call to missions partly because I never wanted to bear the weight of fundraising. In a sea of contacts, emails, phone calls, and trips, there is a constant worry that I’m not doing enough. That the goal is too big and the means of getting there too hidden.
As holy week approaches I’ve been revisiting John’s Gospel, half of which covers the week leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. Whatever weights we deal with are but pebbles compared to what Jesus knew was about to pierce him during that week. Not just the physical pain, but the mockery, betrayal, and penalty of sins—sins he never even committed.
Some Christians have said that we are to look to Jesus as our example in dealing with the weights that lay us down. If he could take it, then we can too. That’s partly true, but lately I’ve been coming back to Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
That’s not the call of someone wanting me to follow his example by bearing my own weight because he bore so much. No, that’s the call to lift off my weight entirely and place it onto him.
We are a restless people. We pacify ourselves with the blue lights of our screens. We exchange sleep for worry. We let poisonous toxins seep into our thoughts as we race to see who can behave with more pettiness in the game of modern life.
But what if we came to Jesus? He promises rest for our souls. Sure, there’s still work to do. A burden remains. But it is easy and light because it is his work and his burden. Not ours.
Whatever is weighing you down today, come to Jesus and find rest in your soul.