Working on Not Laboring on Labor Day

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne. —Matthew 11:28-30 AMPC

First of all, I always thought it was a strange name for a day off. Far removed from the original context, when 10-hour days six days a week under deplorable conditions were commonplace and labor unions were key in changing laws, to me the name just didn’t make sense. Originally and to this day, the holiday came about to honor the American worker who truly labored, often for very little material gain. However, as a child, all I could do was scratch my head.

So. On Labor Day … we don’t labor? … Cool.

Jesus noticed laborers way back in His day. He had some amazing insights for all who work hard and long and late. On this Labor Day, when those of you who aren’t medical professionals, police, or firefighters (to name a few) are kicking back and lighting the grill, let’s ponder Jesus’ words:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened.

Jesus understood the concept of carrying a weight too heavy to bear. He’s addressing those among us who not only struggle in our work, but carry other heavy loads of one kind or another. Loads that break backs. Or minds. Or optimism. Those are the ones he’s talking to in this passage. And all of us need to hear it because all of us at some point carry too much.

And I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]

He will cause me to rest? He eases, relieves, and refreshes my soul? Now that’s an invitation I want to answer with a resounding yes. When we follow the first three words in our passage, Come to Methat’s where we find relief. Can we just pause for a moment in wonder that Jesus cares about our rest? He notices the heaviness, and He does not approve. In fact, He tells us to “Come here” so that He can help us. But … how?

Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

The call is not just to come to Him, but also to yoke ourselves with Him. To load share with the One who made the stars. Whoa. That’s hard to even fathom. In fact, if we join Him in His work, yoking ourselves to Him so that we stay in step with Him and close by His side all day, we discover “relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet for [our] souls.” The striving ceases. The worries turn into prayers and trust that He’s actually got this. He’s pulling with us and for us. The knowing that He loves us and wants us near in itself brings relief. The thought that He sees the future and can guide us and we are not alone is comforting. The reminder that He is not harsh but gentle and humble makes us willing to take up the yoke with Him. This is life changing if we will but do it.

For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

He made us. He knows us. He knows what we can bear. And, yoked with Him, He carries the load alongside us. Jesus enters into daily life with those who come to Him with a willing heart to do it His way. He is with us. Even when it’s not Labor Day. Let’s work on not laboring on our own. Let’s yoke ourselves with Him. Every. Single. Day.

So bite into that hot dog and smear fresh butter on that corn on the cob and rejoice in the day off, but ponder this incredible invitation to never labor alone again.

Dear Lord Jesus, Your invitation to come to You … Your reassurance that You are gentle … Your acknowledgement that our burdens are heavy … all comfort me today. Thank You for walking with me. Forgive me when I reject the help that can only come from trusting You. Lord, I choose the wholesome, not the harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but the comfortable, gracious, and pleasant yoke. Thank You. Thank You. In Your Name, Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

 

 

Sweet Selah Ministries

Vision
To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service

Mission 
To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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