Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Those words are used to describe the work-a-day world. Rats in a maze trying feverishly to escape the dead ends, the constant turning and seeking a way out. We make futile attempts to just get by. We work and work and work… for what? Just to die in the end???
This is an argument that most in the world will give when they are tired, exhausted, frustrated and without hope. Sadly, this is the way some feel in our churches today. Their futility is nothing new.
Haggai 1:6 “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.”
To live a life that does not bear fruit; pleasing fruit; fruit that brings a sense of accomplishment; can be utterly disheartening when at the end of one’s life, you look back and what you see is less than what you might expect.
For some, when the results are not what we might expect, we work harder; we work longer – and for what? Often, we come away unsatisfied.
I speak not of the wage-earning jobs we need to sustain life. I speak of that which we do in service for the King of Kings. We hear the commands of God. We seek to obey and when the fruit doesn’t come, some give in or give up saying; “This doesn’t work”.
God commands us to work.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”
God also knew that in the work, we would grow weary.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”
Our all-knowing Father has work for all who are His children. He has a very careful, thought out plan.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
You see, we were created for His pleasure – not the other way round!
The work and works we are commanded to do can truly be fruitful when done in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
When we do the work that God has ordained for us, we will see results that will glorify Him – not us. The moment you and I step into the spotlight of praise for whatever we do, the heavenly blessings will cease.
Answers to prayers; souls brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ; churches built; lives restored; wounds healed… all this and so much more could and should be done and testified of in our churches today. We are satisfied with such a sub-par Christianity that if we were to be revived in our hearts, we would be amazed at what God would do!
So, when we work and become tired, what are we to do?
Our Creator knows our abilities and our limitations. He knows where we must exert ourselves and where He provides the power to sustain us. Some try to preach about this work using worldly principles that utterly leave God out of the equation.
We are told to work WITH God – not FOR God.
It is the difference between religion and relationship.
When I work religiously, I do so in my own power. When I work in relationship with God, He leads; He guides; He tells me to lie down in green pastures and rest beside the still waters. Religion works to present to God what we decide will please Him. Working in relationship with God assures me that the work I do is already pleasing to Him.
But the passage I read today speaks of rest IN the work.
Everyone from the pastor to the janitor will suffer burnout if they operate in their own power. But when you and I operate in the power of the Holy Spirit, God sustains us when we feel like we just cannot go on. Isaiah spoke of this:
Isaiah 40:28-31 “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
We need to put the business books away. We need to stop trying to apply worldly methods to the work of God. It doesn’t make sense to us – it may never in this life. When I slip into the yoke of God, I am working alongside the One who knows the direction and the duration. He knows the pace and the plan. All things are with the One next to me in the instrument that takes two to operate.
If I try to force my will, or resist the way; I may very well alter the path which ultimately, affects the harvest. When I work in harmony with God, I will see those great and mighty things which I cannot know would ever happen or be done in my flesh.
The fellowship I can share while in the yoke with God is like no other. I can ask about the details, the direction and the duration; but the opportunity for God to reveal Himself to me while in the yoke increases every moment I spend with Him.
Think of it: some of the closest relationships we have are with those we work with over a period of time. There are some with whom I have worked over 20-30 years. We have shared the joys and sorrows of life together. We know each other’s children. I have been able to witness and win some to Christ. Being in the yoke together is all about the relationship.
Whateever it is God has chosen and gifted you to do with Him, rejoice not in the position, but in the opportunity to work closely with the Savior. Invite Him to teach you – He promised He would!
Psalms 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”