As I pen this blog, many educators have just completed or are in the process of completing one of the most unusual school years in history. Three months ago none of us could have predicted how our lives and the lives of our students would change. I don’t know about you, but for me it has been exhausting—probably more emotionally draining than anything. Add to this the events of this past week regarding another senseless loss of a black American, and many find their emotions reeling out of control. As I prayed last night, I told the Lord I was just weary. There is so much uncertainty, so much unfairness, so much hatred. It is all very fatiguing, and I want it to stop. In the next moment this verse came to mind. Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus spoke these words to the Israelites who were weighed down and discouraged by trying to follow the numerous Jewish laws. Their constant attempts to measure up left them feeling guilty, frustrated, and dissatisfied. As Christian educators, we may find ourselves in the same boat. While we don’t necessarily have “laws” we are trying to follow, all educators are charged with educating children both academically and socially. Trying to do this now in a virtual environment or in the future with significant physical distancing requirements seems problematic. Just thinking about it is burdensome. Yet, countless educators across the country will no doubt meet this future challenge. Would you believe me if I said that we can not only meet this challenge but also do it from a place of rest? It is possible, but ONLY if our power source is Christ.
Come to me.
Jesus wants us to depend on Him. He can provide rest for our weariness when nothing else can. However, notice His words say “come to me.” If rest is to be found, we must take the initiative. We have to let go of everything that stands between us and our relationship with Christ. This is a call to an intimate relationship—not a call to a church, a program, or a Bible study. When we put our faith in Jesus, a loving relationship begins and continues to grow as we spend time with Him.
I will give you rest.
There is rest in coming to Christ. I’m not just referring to physical rest. The rest Christ gives is so much more. The burden of having to have all the answers is gone because the Bible gives guidance for every question we might have (2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 4:12). The burden of having to be perfect goes away (2 Corinthians 13:9). The burden of fear is dispelled (Isaiah 41:10). The burden of sin is erased (Romans 5:8). The burden of anxiety about the future is removed (Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 1:6).
Trying to live our lives without this kind of rest is like trying to drive a car without fuel. We may sputter down the road a little while, but we can’t get anywhere. Exhaustion comes when we try to do everything on our own. The rest Jesus offers is fuel for our lives. It refreshes us, replenishes us, and empowers us.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
The Christian life is about submitting our will to His authority and living a life that imitates Christ. It isn’t meant to be oppressive. A life with Christ (take my yoke) is a life filled with peace, joy, and purpose even when life throws us a curveball. It is a life of constant growth and transformation (2 Corinthians 3:18).
So how should we respond to Jesus’ words? How can we experience his rest in our own lives today?
1. Put your relationship with Jesus first. Love him and trust him. Do everything you can to spend time in God’s Word and in prayer. Talk to God like a friend. Listen to Him as you meditate on his Word. He will speak to your heart.
2. Write down your burdens. What are you worried about? Where do you need direction? Pray over this list (Jeremiah 33:3). Pray over the verses referenced in this blog (click on the links).
3. Let go of trying to have everything figured out. We will never enter a place of rest if we are trying to control that which is out of our control. We need to do the best we can in any given situation, and then let God handle the rest. I know that is easier said than done, but it is critical if we are going to thrive in uncertain times.
4. Get moving. We are called to discipleship. As Christians we are to imitate Christ.
· Jesus was passionate.
· Jesus fulfilled His purpose.
· Jesus obeyed His Father.
· Jesus loved the lovely and the unlovable.
· Jesus spoke out against the injustices He saw (Matthew 21:12-13).
As Christian educators we have a unique opportunity to teach our students about Jesus through our actions, even if it means going against popular opinion.
When we feel weary or burdened, our natural inclination is to retreat, to lay low. However, in every circumstance—no matter how dire—we have the power through Jesus Christ to not only find rest but to make a difference. The enemy of our souls wants us to give up, to remain silent, and to think we are helpless (Ephesians 6:12). This is nothing but a lie. You can find rest and be productive in tumultuous times. I once read, “The path of rest is in treading in Christ’s footsteps. Learn of Me. It is the secret of tranquility.”
No matter our situation, Jesus gives us hope. Find your rest in Him.