Are You Weary and Heavy Laden?
Most of us are familiar with the scripture where Jesus calls the people who are weary and heavy-laden to come to him and he will give them rest. I think that passage is traditionally preached to non-believers, promising them rest if they come to Jesus. The problem is that for many believers, we came to Jesus a long time ago and we are still waiting for our rest period to start.
Like ducks, we may gracefully glide on top of the water; however, underneath we are wearing ourselves out, paddling as fast as possible to get to the other side.
As Christians, we can appear to gracefully glide across the waters of praise, worship, and sermons every Sunday morning. This is deceiving. Like ducks, we may gracefully glide on top of the water; however, underneath we are wearing ourselves out, paddling as fast as possible to get to the other side. Perhaps that’s why we like a good old-fashioned sermon on coming to Jesus and getting some rest. Is it just me, or does this sound familiar to you, too?
Even if we think we have the correct application and it sounds good coming from the pulpit on a Sunday morning, we have the wrong audience. You see, we try to convince churchgoers who are not really that interested in God to get interested; then maybe they can get some rest for their souls. Our audience is usually people who lived a self-absorbed life and are now reaping the turbulence of that lifestyle.
We twenty-first century believers are most likely getting exhausted by living for ourselves. On the other hand, those first century Jews became exhausted by trying to live for God.
It wasn’t that way in Jesus day. The people listening to Jesus were almost all Jews wanting to live a good religious Jewish lifestyle. They may also have been exhausted, but for other reasons. We twenty-first century believers are most likely getting exhausted by living for ourselves. On the other hand, those first century Jews became exhausted by trying to live for God. In other words, they wanted God and were willing to do a lot to get him, but only came home weary and heavy laden. Here was the plan: Jesus was calling them to a Spirit-filled lifestyle of faith where every believer could and would experience the presence of God. Some made it. Some did not.
I don’t have any root system to support. The root supports me - which is certainly good news.
Now back to me. For a long time, I thought I was supposed to support the Jewish root. Romans 11:18 says, “You do not support the root but the root supports you.” No wonder I needed rest. I tried to support a root that isn’t even mine. According to Paul, the root is a Jewish root. I spent all of those years not only trying to support the root, but also trying to be the root for both myself and for non-believing Jews. Whew! This is basically impossible - because I don’t have any root system to support. The root supports me - which is certainly good news. The bad news is I am not even sure where it is right now. Unfortunately, even many Jews who believe in Jesus as Messiah are in bad shape, too. When they preach, they preach good old German theology that they learned here in America. The only difference is they do it with their head covered; however, their feet still have nothing to stand on.
I’ve come to my senses and realize I have no support whatsoever to supply. Instead, I am looking for a root system that can support me, understanding that it may not be down at the local Charismatic church that waves the Israeli flag during worship on Sunday mornings.
May God help me on this journey.