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"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
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
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 feet.
"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 find peace.
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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