Guest Post: 3 Words for the Weary
My husband, Huston Malande, wrote today’s post. Huston is a techpreneur who also enjoys blogging at afrocalvinist.co.ke, vlogging at The Visual Theologian on YouTube, and cooking at the HustonsKitchen. He is also a contributor to TGC Africa. It is an honor to have him feature on our blog today with a devotional to encourage the Christian weary heart.
There’s an essential difference between the word tired and the word weary. Let me paint a quick picture to hopefully help you determine whether this encouragement is fitting for you today:
Picture a 38-year old man. He works at a construction site, mixing concrete the old school way (with a spade) and lugging sand around all day (on a wheelbarrow), from the stockpile to the mixing site. Eight hours straight. Then he walks home for 45 minutes because the 30 shillings needed for the ride is enough money to buy breakfast for his family. Imagine what he looks like when he finally sits on his barely cushioned sofa upon getting home.
Now picture the same man, but this time, he’s been looking all over for his daughter. She’s a sophomore who was supposed to report to her boarding school but never arrived. Sadly, it’s been two weeks, and he’s looked everywhere for her; the daughter is nowhere to be found! On top of this, he had sent her to school without fees, hoping that the site manager would pay him his dues the following day—but it didn’t happen, and he’s not seen the guy on site since. Now he’s run out of borrowed money, his friends are as broke as he is, his siblings are not picking calls, and the landlady gave him a dress down for half an hour last night in the hearing of his family and the neighbors.
Imagine what our man looked like this morning, sitting on the side of his bed, head in his hands, contemplating whether or not he should report to work today.
You may not be physically weary, but is it possible that you are spiritually and emotionally weary, or in other words, worn out? Do you feel like you can’t take it anymore? Has your soul been incessantly pounded for so long that you are on the verge of “losing it?”
Take heed to what Jesus says to you in Matthew 11:28-30,
“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.” (Emphasis my own).
Yes, come! Could it be that you are weary because you have forsaken faith by not continually drawing near to your Savior? Are you drifting away from him, like Peter, whose gaze turned away from Christ, and he found himself weighed down as it were, into the waves he allowed himself to dread? Could it be that you come to church, but not to Jesus? He says, “Come to me.”
To him, specifically. You know why?
Because you don’t just find rest, as he says in verse 29. Nope. He gives that rest in verse 28.
In that one statement, “Come to me,” Jesus, in whom are all the riches of God’s wisdom (as expounded in Colossians), is alluding to the words of wisdom in Proverbs 9:4-6,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him, who lacks sense wisdom says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
By faith, come to him who freely gives the bread of his body, broken for you. Come to him who graciously gives wine; his blood shed for you. Walk in the insight of his words, for they are spirit and life.
In the midst of all you may be going through, he will give you rest.
But your faith, though it is the beginning of your receiving rest, is not an end in itself. Christ calls upon you to take action:
Take my yoke upon you…
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
How is his yoke easy and his burden light? Though we may not fully grasp this picture in the 21st century, there is hardly a better modern-day alternative. You see, farmers back in the day (and even up till the times of our parents) would plow fields with the help of an ox that would pull the plow. If you used one ox with a single yoke, it would get tired quickly, so two oxen would usually be yoked together with a double yoke so that they’d pull the plow between them better and for much longer.
How does this apply to Jesus and your weariness?
If you are weary, it is highly likely that you’ve been pulling the plow alone for a while hence the weariness. You have probably decided that you’ll pull through whatever trials and temptations you face, by hook or crook.
While the determination and grit are commendable, you have set yourself up for sure failure. A calf simply cannot pull a plow across 10 acres.
Christ as the infintely stronger ox
Imagine Christ as the infinitely stronger ox who comes alongside you and says, “Hey. Drop your yoke. Take mine.” What?! Who wouldn’t want that?! I get tears of joy, just contemplating the fact that this is what Jesus has done for me! Yes, I’ll have to take the yoke upon myself. And yes, I have to try my best not to be dead weight, being pulled along by him. I have to stand. And I have to walk. But who cares! His pull is so sure and so strong that as we plow, I might as well be considered to be resting.
Praise Jesus! How amazing is his grace, that he yokes himself to us! Drop yours and take his. And don’t let go.
Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart …
Different authors have written entire books about this one verse, but at the very least, the verb is simple and straightforward: learn. Learn from Jesus. And what should you learn from him in your weariness? That he is gentle and lowly in heart.
Two immediate implications:
a. Jesus is gentle and lowly
There are two immediate implications to pick from Jesus’ statement. First is that Jesus is gentle. He understands that no matter how hard you try not to, you will occasionally get weary as a believer. If you’re an unbeliever reading this, then you’re almost certainly feeling the constant weight of your sin upon your spirit and conscience.
But he doesn’t just understand; he is also gentle. He won’t shove you aside or shout, “Man up and get on with it, you weakling!” even though there is a time and place for that. His default mode with you, in this life, is gentleness. So come to him in your weariness. He will not only pull the yoke alongside you, but he will also teach you his way in a gentle manner. Learn from him.
b. Learn to be gently and lowly
The second implication is that you need to learn to be gentle and lowly in the heart like he is. Is it not true that many times, we wear ourselves out because of our stubborn pride? Isn’t it accurate that we often feel weary because we have too high a view of ourselves and therefore think that specific difficulties, trials, insults, and disappointments are not what we deserve? It’s impossible to wear out someone who has humbled himself completely. The lowly heart cannot be insulted, nor persecuted, nor downtrodden to weariness because it already lives life at rock bottom, under the rock himself.
Learn from him and humble yourself. If the son of God did, so should you.
Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.
I pray that with these three words—come, take, learn—you will find rest for your soul in Christ.
Grace and peace to you.
Feel free to read our other devotionals here.