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Matthew 11:28 is a well known text for those of you who have church backgrounds. In it Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Some of you have the version that says, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden.” “Weary” and “labour” are kind of the same word. “Labour” is the idea that you worked so hard you’re exhausted. “Weary” is that exhaustion that comes from the labour. So don’t get confused about, “How can the Bible say ‘labour’ and ‘weary’ and still be the Bible?” It’s the same idea and same word. This is a uncommon invitation. Jesus Christ says, “Hey, if you’re exhausted, if you’re bitter, if you’re lonely, if you’re angry, if you struggle, if you are socially inept, if you have no people skills, if you can’t figure it out,
come here.” What an invitation!
Sometimes I have loved this verse because I’ve grown weary. Sometimes I’ve loved this verse because I’ve been tired. Now, when God put me together in my mother’s womb, He put an inordinate amount of optimism in me. So I’m a hopeless optimist. “It will work out. It will be fine. It will be great.” I’m intrinsically wired that way, but I have had seasons where I’ve just grown extremely weary. In those times, I’ve loved this invitation. But the invitation itself is profound, because what we do in our culture, more often than not, is go, “Look bro, you’ve got some people skills issues. Go to some sort of program, go to some sort of group, go to some sort of place and figure out how to interact on a level that’s acceptable. And then you and I are cool.” Or there’s, “You’re just a little too bitter for me. You’re always complaining, always pointing out what’s wrong and unable to rejoice in what’s right. Why don’t you go get better at that, and then we can do life.” But that’s not what Jesus is doing here. No, it’s, “Come to Me. Are you a train wreck? Come here. Are you broken? Are you stuck in lust? Are you stuck in anger? Are you stuck fear? Get over here.”
And then there’s this great exchange occurring. “You come to Me with your weariness, you come to Me with your labour and I will give to you in turn rest. I will give to you peace. You give to Me the struggle, and I’ll give to you rest. Get in here. Come over here.”
You’ve got to hear this invitation as it relates to prayer. Because the invitation isn’t, “Start doing what’s right.” The invitation is, “Come to Me. You’re not doing what’s right.” So the solution to what ails us, what weighs heavy on us and what exhausts us is not us trying harder at overcoming those things, but it’s rather us coming to Jesus, walking with Jesus, being in a relationship with Jesus that overpowers our affection for the struggle. So I think it’s really important for you to dial in and understand that, when it comes to sin, loneliness and despair, the way we get out from under those things isn’t to work really hard to not be struggling with those things anymore. But we really need to use our energy and vitality to chase after, to know and to see Jesus as more lovely than those things. And then as Jesus becomes more lovely, these things lose their power. As Jesus becomes more spectacular, why would you choose a lesser joy over a greater joy? It becomes a delight issue. “Come to Me,” He says. “Are you busted up? Are you broken? Get in here. Get over here.”