“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
These words are good news for any of us who ever feel stressed, stretched, anxious, weighed down, nervous, overtaxed, overloaded, or whatever word we use to describe ourselves when we don’t think we can handle life.
As most in the school community would know, I have recently returned from six weeks of long service leave which I spent in Germany, Ireland, Scotland and England. I left all my cares at home and truly rested from my usual responsibilities. Being on a bus tour couldn’t be described as a physical rest though. It means an early start every day. So much is packed into one day on these tours that I felt a sense of urgency when the tour director announced a short 90 minute stopover, suggesting several “must see” significant historical sites. Go, go, go! Not to miss anything for I “shall not pass this way again”.
However, we also had some time driving through England’s Lake District after the tour. We spent almost an entire day walking around a picturesque national park in the Sherwood Forest. It was peaceful, serene and the filtered light streaming between the leaves of the dense trees provided just enough warmth. It was here that I could truly rest in my own thoughts of thankfulness for all that God has done and is doing for me. It was a time of spiritual rest.
What robs your soul of rest? I don’t think many people in our society experience the kind of rest Jesus promises, although everyone wants it. We pursue it in all the wrong places – sports, recreation, possessions, computers, TV and movies – and end up as empty and troubled as when we began our search – a bit like me trying to rush around in an attempt not to miss anything on our tour.
When we say “yes” to too many other things, we are actually saying “no” to God.
Mark 6:31 highlights the fact that even Jesus Himself found it important to get away for a while, to slow down and cease activity. The Bible records this event, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’” (NIV).
Jesus urged His disciples to get to a quiet place. In doing so they would find rest. Being alone and quiet would restore their weary spirits.
It is in those quiet times with God that He speaks to us and restores our souls. It is during those times that He renews us and strengthens us to do His work. Without His renewing power, we will not only fail at the tasks He gives us, but we will wear ourselves out trying to do them in our own strength.
You may not be going to Sherwood Forest (or perhaps you are!) these holidays, but plan to spend some quiet “me” time with God. I can certainly recommend it.
Father, thank You for showing us the good way in order that we might have rest for our souls. Give us the courage to change paths if the one we’re on has left us with little time for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Director of Learning
Learning Support Teacher