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Lay Your Burden Down

Lay Your Burden Down

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Category: Timely Truths

On August 15, 1930, a New York State Supreme Court Justice named Joseph Carter hailed a cab and was never seen or heard from again. The FBI thought his disappearance might be related to his work as a judge because of mob cases heard before his court. But since there was no hard evidence to support this theory, the case remains open to this day. All the work led investigators to a dead end. The only clue was a note Joseph Carter left for his wife, which said: "I am very, very tired. Love, Joe." That was it, no one ever heard from him.

I can't help but feel that there are a lot of us who feel the same way. And Jesus has something to say to the person who is exhausted, worn out, frustrated, and weary. Jesus invited us to accept his offer of rest.

"Come to me, all you 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" (Matthew 11:28-29).

While we are looking forward to the rest that awaits us in heaven, I don't think Jesus is talking about heaven in this situation (Matthew 11). I think he's offering rest for our souls here and now. Somebody to help carry our burden.

The apostle Paul would later say, "Bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2). We can do that for one another. There have been some times in my life when I've gone through some things that I just don't think I could have handled if I didn't have brothers and sisters in Christ to be there for me. But what we do for one another in a small way, Christ does for us to a much greater measure.

Whatever burden you are carrying right now, Christ says he'll be there for you. Whether it's problems in your marriage or your children are in trouble at school or with the law. Maybe it's burdens of loneliness, burdens of taking care of sick relatives, burdens of disappointment, or burdens of rejection, or the oppressive burdens of addictions. Maybe it's the burden of not knowing which way to turn next. Life is filled with stress, with cares, and with worries.

The reality is that life can be very difficult, but these are the very kinds of burdens that Jesus wants us to bring to him. Jesus is saying, "Come to me all you who are struggling with life in any way, and those of you who have burdens that you can't carry alone, and I will help you with your struggles."

Do you remember the last time you made a trip to the airport with all your luggage? A couple of years ago, we took our daughter to the airport. She had absolutely crammed her suitcases as full as she could get them because she was moving to Germany. One of them weighed 65 pounds and the other one weighed 83 pounds. Fortunately they had the little wheels on them because I can't imagine what it would have been like if we had to lug those things all over the airport trying to find the right ticket counter. And, I want to tell you, when the ticket agent took those suitcases from us and we didn't have to carry them around anymore, that was a wonderful feeling. No more burden.

That's what Jesus does for us. Jesus is always on the lookout for hurting people. People who are bold enough to admit, "Lord, I need some help. I can't carry these problems alone." And he's promised to do it. He said, "Come to me ... and I will give you rest."

About the Author

Alan Smith
Alan Smith ministers with the Church of Christ in White House, Tennessee and publishes the email devotional "Thought for the Day."

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