[This chapter is based on Matt. 11:28-30.]
"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will
give you rest."
These words of comfort were spoken to the multitude that followed
Jesus. The Saviour had said that only through Himself could men receive
a knowledge of God. He had spoken of His disciples as the ones to whom a
knowledge of heavenly things had been given. But He left none to feel
themselves shut out from His care and love. All who labor and are
heavy-laden may come unto Him.
Scribes and rabbis, with their punctilious attention to religious
forms, had a sense of want that rites of penance could never satisfy.
Publicans and sinners might pretend to be content with the sensual and
earthly, but in their hearts were distrust and fear. Jesus looked upon
the distressed and heart burdened, those whose hopes were blighted, and
who with earthly joys were seeking to quiet the longing of the soul, and
He invited all to find rest in Him.
Tenderly He bade the toiling people, "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."
In these words Christ is speaking to every human being. Whether they
know it or not, all are weary and heavy-laden. All are weighed down with
burdens that only Christ can remove. The heaviest burden that we bear is
the burden of sin. If we were left to bear this burden, it would crush
us. But the Sinless One has taken our place. "The Lord hath laid on
Him the iniquity of us all." Isa. 53:6. He has borne the burden of
our guilt. He will take the load from our weary shoulders. He will give
us rest. The burden of care and sorrow also He will bear. He invites us
to cast all our care upon Him; for He carries us upon His heart.
The Elder Brother of our race is by the eternal throne. He looks upon
every soul who is turning his face toward Him as the Saviour. He knows
by experience what are the weaknesses of humanity, what are our wants,
and where lies the strength of our temptations; for He was in all points
tempted like as we are, yet without sin. He is watching over you,
trembling child of God. Are you tempted? He will deliver. Are you weak?
He will strengthen. Are you ignorant? He will enlighten. Are you
wounded? He will heal. The Lord "telleth the number of the
stars;" and yet "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth
up their wounds." Ps. 147:4, 3. "Come unto Me," is His
invitation. Whatever your anxieties and trials, spread out your case
before the Lord. Your spirit will be braced for endurance. The way will
be opened for you to disentangle yourself from embarrassment and
difficulty. The weaker and more helpless you know yourself to be, the
stronger will you become in His strength. The heavier your burdens, the
more blessed the rest in casting them upon the Burden Bearer. The rest
that Christ offers depends upon conditions, but these conditions are
plainly specified. They are those with which all can comply. He tells us
just how His rest is to be found.
"Take My yoke upon you," Jesus says. The yoke is an
instrument of service. Cattle are yoked for labor, and the yoke is
essential that they may labor effectually. By this illustration Christ
teaches us that we are called to service as long as life shall last. We
are to take upon us His yoke, that we may be co-workers with Him.
The yoke that binds to service is the law of God. The great law of
love revealed in Eden, proclaimed upon Sinai, and in the new covenant
written in the heart, is that which binds the human worker to the will
of God. If we were left to follow our own inclinations, to go just where
our will would lead us, we should fall into Satan's ranks and become
possessors of his attributes. Therefore God confines us to His will,
which is high, and noble, and elevating. He desires that we shall
patiently and wisely take up the duties of service. The yoke of service
Christ Himself has borne in humanity. He said, "I delight to do Thy
will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart." Ps. 40:8. "I
came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that
sent Me." John 6:38. Love for God, zeal for His glory, and love for
fallen humanity, brought Jesus to earth to suffer and to die. This was
the controlling power of His life. This principle He bids us adopt.
There are many whose hearts are aching under a load of care because
they seek to reach the world's standard. They have chosen its service,
accepted its perplexities, adopted its customs. Thus their character is
marred, and their life made a weariness. In order to gratify ambition
and worldly desires, they wound the conscience, and bring upon
themselves an additional burden of remorse. The continual worry is
wearing out the life forces. Our Lord desires them to lay aside this
yoke of bondage. He invites them to accept His yoke; He says, "My
yoke is easy, and My burden is light." He bids them seek first the
kingdom of God and His righteousness, and His promise is that all things
needful to them for this life shall be added. Worry is blind, and cannot
discern the future; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every
difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. Our heavenly Father
has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing. Those
who accept the one principle of making the service and honor of God
supreme will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their
"Learn of Me," says Jesus; "for I am meek and lowly in
heart: and ye shall find rest." We are to enter the school of
Christ, to learn from Him meekness and lowliness. Redemption is that
process by which the soul is trained for heaven. This training means a
knowledge of Christ. It means emancipation from ideas, habits, and
practices that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness.
The soul must be delivered from all that is opposed to loyalty to God.
In the heart of Christ, where reigned perfect harmony with God, there
was perfect peace. He was never elated by applause, nor dejected by
censure or disappointment. Amid the greatest opposition and the most
cruel treatment, He was still of good courage. But many who profess to
be His followers have an anxious, troubled heart, because they are
afraid to trust themselves with God. They do not make a complete
surrender to Him; for they shrink from the consequences that such a
surrender may involve. Unless they do make this surrender, they cannot
It is the love of self that brings unrest. When we are born from
above, the same mind will be in us that was in Jesus, the mind that led
Him to humble Himself that we might be saved. Then we shall not be
seeking the highest place. We shall desire to sit at the feet of Jesus,
and learn of Him. We shall understand that the value of our work does
not consist in making a show and noise in the world, and in being active
and zealous in our own strength. The value of our work is in proportion
to the impartation of the Holy Spirit. Trust in God brings holier
qualities of mind, so that in patience we may possess our souls.
The yoke is placed upon the oxen to aid them in drawing the load, to
lighten the burden. So with the yoke of Christ. When our will is
swallowed up in the will of God, and we use His gifts to bless others,
we shall find life's burden light. He who walks in the way of God's
commandments is walking in company with Christ, and in His love the
heart is at rest. When Moses prayed, "Show me now Thy way, that I
may know Thee," the Lord answered him, "My presence shall go
with thee, and I will give thee rest." And through the prophets the
message was given, "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and
see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein,
and ye shall find rest for your souls." Ex. 33:13, 14; Jer. 6:16.
And He says, "O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then
had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the
sea." Isa. 48:18.
Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His
keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude.
Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His
presence. In perfect acquiescence there is perfect rest. The Lord says,
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee:
because he trusteth in Thee." Isa. 26:3. Our lives may seem a
tangle; but as we commit ourselves to the wise Master Worker, He will
bring out the pattern of life and character that will be to His own
glory. And that character which expresses the glory--character--of
Christ will be received into the Paradise of God. A renovated race shall
walk with Him in white, for they are worthy.
As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond
to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the
life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ.
The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of
glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more
intense will be our happiness. As we walk with Jesus in this life, we
may be filled with His love, satisfied with His presence. All that human
nature can bear, we may receive here. But what is this compared with the
hereafter? There "are they before the throne of God, and serve Him
day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall
dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;
neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is
in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto
living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their
eyes." Rev. 7:15-17.
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