If there was a test at the end of this life-course, I’ve failed. “Waiting” and “Rest” were repeated themes over the past few months. In the time that I was given to rest and “learn of Jesus,” selfish ambition and weeds of worldly worries strangled my peace.
Two invitations to work in my calling have come along. I’ve said no to both; one because the Lord specifically spoke to me and my wife, another because He didn’t seem to speak at all.
Making these decisions put a lot of pressure on an already busy life. “What is the Lord saying?” “Where is God calling us?” Waiting for answers wasn’t very restful.
When God speaks clearly, it’s a relief from the pressure. This last decision required a month of consideration and a trip across the country. Saying “no” was supposed to bring relief. But it didn’t. The morning after, I’m left feeling just as melancholy as before the invitation was extended. But one thing is clear, I need rest.
Rest is just as important now as it was through the last few months. There’s going to be a lot of activity. My wife and I want to dream with the Lord again. In the past, that has looked like frantic work. Now, it’s still work, but without the weeds and selfish ambition this time. Work with rest.
Jesus said his yoke was easy and his burden was light. “Yoke” is a rabbinical term as well as a farming term. In the farming sense, two oxen were yoked together to pull the plough or other farm equipment. What they were pulling was their burden.
Jesus is saying, “Be yoked to me. Let’s work together. What we’re pulling is light.”
Part of me wants to call BS on that, because what Jesus carries is the Kingdom of Heaven. That can’t be a light burden. And when Jesus describes what we will endure when we follow him — persecution, reproach, abuse — it makes his claim of an easy yoke less believable.
Then I remember who I’m yoking up with. My ploughing partner is the one who endured the cross, resisted the shame and declared, “It is finished.” He’s the only one in Heaven who is worthy to open the final seal of the scroll, to bring the Earth’s final moments to completion. He’s the one to whom all authority was given, the ruler of the Kings of the Earth. Science and spirituality are centred in him. Everything was created through him and for him. All of Heaven and Earth are upheld by his inhale and exhale.
This is the one who is inviting us to join him in a yoke of Kingdom work. If he’s putting a fraction of his eternal strength into this work, then what is our effort in comparison?
His invitation to “learn of him” is now unbelievable because I wonder, “Why does a dude with the power to silence armies need my help?” Well, he’s not asking for my help, is he? Jesus is inviting me to study under him, to do as he does.
Because of the invasive love of the Father, Jesus put on mortality. The Father’s Kingdom of Holy Love takes ground in human hearts. Jesus took the beachhead and continues to take ground with every “yes” given to him.
When we say, “yes,” we accept his invitation and he multiplies our mortal efforts to eternal effect.
From “yes” to “rest.” Work without the weeds.
Hopefully, we all get extra doses of understanding this year for Christmas. May we understand our role while working with Jesus. May we stop looking to win the lottery of life, to make it big. May we weed out the garden of our hearts and find rest.
“A light heart lives long.” Shakespeare – Love’s Labour’s Lost