“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
I have been thinking about these verses for a few days now and was planning to write something about them but Beth, who I have the privilege of working with, has beaten me to it. She wrote this in the EBA thought for the week which we send out to Ministers:
“These verses as presented by Eugene Peterson start with the phrase ‘Are you tired?’ This morning Graeme shared this with us at our team Skype call and my heart went ‘yes, I am tired’. Now the passage goes on to talk about being worn out and burnt out on religion and I don’t echo so much with that. But why should I be tired, I am sleeping well, eating and exercising well, so why?
I think many of us at this time are feeling tired and worn out and there are so many reasons for this. We are dealing with a huge change curve and trying to find our footing on that curve on a daily basis. At times it is a slippery, slidey curve and at others a more measured manageable staircase, but what is certain is that it is unpredictable. Many of us have had to re-invent what our life looks like, at home, in ministry as well as how to relate to far flung family and friends. Experts tell us that it is like culture-shock and it is akin to grief, as all that is familiar shifts and fades. So when the God’s word asks me, ‘am I tired’, I echo with ‘yes’. (Having said all that I recognise that some thrive best when grappling with the change curve and so I applaud and bless you!!)
The next phrase that jumps out for me in the Message paraphrase is ‘Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it’ or the more familiar words are ‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me’. The imagery of a ‘yoke’ is a hard one for us who mainly live outside of rural life, but perhaps the imagery of walking is particularly helpful for us right now. Each day, we take our daily walk, probably in a more routine way than we would have done a few months ago. When we walk, what do we take with us? Do we walk with head and shoulders bowed down, plodding, feeling weighed down considering our next Zoom meeting or how to manipulate the technology yet again? Alternatively can we walk with the rhythms of grace that Jesus taught the two on the road to Emmaus as they walked and talked with a stranger, until as they broke bread together their eyes were opened. I am sure they walked much more lightly back down the road to Jerusalem.
So as you negotiate the slippery curve of change and the present certainty of our unpredictable times, may you sense that you are keeping company and walking with the risen Lord Jesus and may we all be able to live freely and lightly because of Him and in the power of His resurrection.
Thank you to everyone for the amazing ministry you are carrying out at this time, may God continue to sustain you in all that you are doing both for your churches and the wider community.”
Thanks to Beth for giving me permission to share her thoughts here
You might also find The one where the heavy bit of wood is light to carry interesting if you want to think a bit more of the language of being yoked.