Many times when my heart and mind have been weary either from the everyday strains of life or a particular trial, the words of Matthew 11:28–30 have come as a balm:
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
When I've read these verses in the past, my focus has been on the rest and relief offered by our wholly competent, loving Savior. Knowing that Christ will take my load and in return give me the rest and relief I desperately long for, I feel like I can close my eyes, take a deep breath, and sit down.
But when I read these verses more carefully, something else came into focus.
"Learn from me."
A Chance to Learn
Jesus isn't just offering to take our heavy loads and let us rest. He doesn't stop there. He also gives us the chance to learn.
Mary Kassian explains the illustration Jesus uses in an eye-opening way:
Jesus invited people to enter into a learning relationship with Him. He, the teacher, was the ox and His students the young bullocks. He promised that those who bound themselves to Him in this apprenticeship would not bear a heavy load. He would bear the load and set direction for them. They would merely need to walk alongside.
The purpose of Him taking our loads is not only to give us rest, but to teach us how to live unburdened in Him. Because of Him. For Him. Like Him. Jesus is offering to take the weight of our burdens, and relief will come not just because we're freed from that weight, but because He'll teach us how and where to walk. He doesn't offer to make our burdens disappear. He offers to endure their weight and teach us how to walk while He does.
The Antidote for Weariness
We see this same idea in Isaiah 50:4:
The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may to know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
The antidote for weariness is God's instruction! Look at all that's in this verse . . .
- The Lord God: He's Lord over all things—even the things making me weary.
- The tongue of those who are taught: He teaches me what to say and His control produces good results.
- With a word: That's His Word.
- How to sustain . . . him who is weary: Just like the Matthew passage, God is the sustainer when we are weary.
- Morning by morning he awakens . . . my ear: He is in charge and both constant and consistent.
- To hear as those who are taught: The Hebrew word here also indicates learning, studying, and training.
In combining the truths of these two passages, we see learning from Christ brings relief from weariness and burden. As He bears the weight of those burdens, we are freed to listen to and learn from Him. Then through that freedom and learning, we'll walk more like Him and for Him. That is true rest.
So will you relinquish that burden weighing you down today? Will you take on His yoke like a young bullock and learn the way of your Father? Listen to His Word, rest, learn, and walk on in His way.