Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.

When we’re feeling burdened by the demands of life, we might look at Jesus’ words here as an invitation to a life of comfort and ease, a life free from any pain or suffering. But Jesus doesn’t say, “Come, take up a hammock on the beach, and give yourself a break.” No, he invites us to take up a yoke: his yoke. A yoke is an instrument of work! So how can we make sense of this? Does Jesus want us to work or to rest? The answer is both.

While Jesus does offer us rest for our souls, he invites us to find that rest as we labor beside him and work with him in building his kingdom. He knows that as we yoke ourselves to him, he’ll be able to do the heavy lifting with us and for us.

Jesus didn’t come to excuse us from the work of the kingdom but to equip us for it. It’s as if we are carpenters working with only a chisel and saw, and Jesus hands us power tools. “Here,” he says. “I see how hard you are exerting yourself, so try these.” Imagine your relief! Your burden has become lighter because he has helped you finish your work more easily.

Jesus longs to work beside you as you go about your daily tasks; he longs to help you find joy in building his kingdom. Right here, right now, he is offering you unlimited access to his strength, his grace, and his rest, all through the gift of his Holy Spirit.

So don’t let those power tools collect dust! Don’t overlook the gift of the Spirit and rely only on your own strength. Instead, take up Jesus’ yoke and the tools he is offering you. This could mean seeking grace in Confession to overcome a persistent sin. It might mean entrusting a difficult project to him in a holy hour. It could mean lifting up a prayer for help when you run into a person you struggle to love.

Jesus stands ready to help you today as you go into the fields. He is eagerly waiting for you to take up his yoke so that you can find rest and joy as you and he work together!

“Lord, help me to take up your yoke today!”

Isaiah 40:25-31
Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10
Matthew 11:28-30


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