The Promise of Rest

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Are you ready for Christmas?

Maybe you’re not ready to answer that question. After all, we’ve got two weeks to buy gifts, wrap presents, make candy, decorate the tree, put up the lights, go to parties, watch a thousand holiday specials on TV, and otherwise do the things we have to do to be ready for Christmas.

Not everyone gets excited this time of year. Many people feel exhausted and stressed out as the big day approaches. Start with all the things I just mentioned, then add big meals to plan, special services at church, and long trips to visit our kids and grandkids. It quickly becomes overwhelming.

We need some rest.

That’s where the words of Jesus become so crucial. “Come to me,” Jesus says. Note how personal it is. He does not say,

“Come to a meeting.”
“Come to an organization.”
“Come to a retreat.”

He is not asking us to add yet one more thing to our already overcrowded schedule.
Because his invitation is personal, it demands a personal response.

There is nothing vague here.
There is no room for hesitation.

We need to be reminded that the Lord knows all about our troubles. We can say it more forcefully than that. Jesus knows what others do not know about us. He knows all the hidden secrets, the inner fears, and the unspoken doubts about what tomorrow may bring. He knows the whole truth about you and me, and he loves us anyway.

What is it that weighs you down today? What makes you weary and in need of rest? Is it pain or sickness or a failing marriage? Is it worry about your future? Is it a burden for your children? Is it a searing temptation or crippling bitterness? Is it the demands of others that never seem to end?

I saw this question on Facebook: How many times a day do you say, “I’m so tired I can’t keep going”? There were four choices:

  1. 1
  2. 5
  3. 10
  4. A thousand times a day.

I smiled when I saw that 77% of people chose D because that’s the way most of us feel.

Here’s the good news for today: Jesus knows who you are and where you are. He knows how tired you feel. You are not lost or forgotten.

These words of Jesus are for you.

When old-time preachers gave the invitation at the end of a sermon, they would often say, “Won’t you come? Won’t you come to Jesus?”

He has already come for you.
He is waiting for you to come to him.

Won’t you come? Won’t you come to Jesus?

Lord Jesus, thank you for coming from heaven to earth for me. I pray for faith to come to you that I might find rest for my soul today. Amen.

Musical bonus: Lauren Daigle is a rising star in Christian music. Let’s enjoy her performance of a song called Light of the World.

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Originally published December 10, 2018.

Dr. Ray Pritchard is the founder of Keep Believing Ministries.  Their mission is "for equipping and encouraging people to keep believing in Jesus."  In his blog at Christianity.com, he talks about serving others, ministering as a team, doing things with financial integrity, and empowering others to serve the Lord.   He tackles some of the toughest issues of the day including complacency in God, guarding your tongue against unwholesome talk, and how to live in an ungodly culture in a post-modern world.     Follow his blog about Christianity, cultural issues, and society today.

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