What does it mean to find rest in Jesus? Last week I took a trip down to Falls Creek, a popular Oklahoma Baptist Youth camp (see last week’s blog), for just the evening. I was challenged by the message in the evening worship service, as I have been many times before. God never fails to show me something new at Falls Creek
H.B. Charles, the pastor for the week, who preaches at a church in Jacksonville, Florida, spoke out of the passage of Scripture, Matthew 11:28-29 which says: “(28) Come to Me, all of you who are wearing and burdened, and I will give you rest. (29) All of you, take up my yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.”
This is a passage of Scripture with which I would say I am familiar. I have read it before, I’ve recited it before and I’ve seen it quoted (both in and out of context). However, H.B. Charles taught the passage in a way I had never heard.
Charles said first that “rest” does not mean freedom from responsibility or accountability. He said, “Rest is bondage to the purpose for which you were created. No soul is free when you live outside the purpose for which God has created you.”
This point he made hit me in the middle of the eyes. So many times I’ve heard people explain the freedom they have in the Lord and how he calls us to rest, while they generally mean that the Lord wants them to essentially “Don’t worry, be happy.”
But that isn’t at all the point. There is responsibility in our duty to proclaim the Gospel to all of the nations. The life of a Christian is not an easy, carefree one. “There is bondage to the purpose for which you were created.”
Also, living outside of the purpose of God is not a “free” lifestyle. Sure, you may be momentarily free from the “rules” of Christianity, or you may be free to believe what you do or do not believe about the Bible. However, I find both of those things contradictory. We find freedom and victory in Jesus and Jesus only. All other forms of earthly freedom or victories are superficial and fade either in time or rather quickly.
Next, H.B. Charles talked about how many times, we try to take verse 28 and be happy with the good token of love from the Lord, without applying verse 29 that tells us to take up our yokes and learn from the Lord.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when as believers we pick and choose quotable Scripture, taking it out of context for our earthly gain. Verse 29 is just as important as verse 28. I challenge you, as well as challenge myself to not commit this heinous act against God-breathed Scripture.
I encourage you friends to examine this Scripture and put on the yoke that the Lord has given you. I am both encouraged and challenged each time I read a familiar passage of Scripture and the Lord shows me something different. It emphasizes that we can never know our Bibles too well. Keep studying his word!
H.B. Charles closed his message saying that we may not feel prepared or equipped ahead of time, but the Lord will never place a task before us that is too large of a burden to bear. Let’s rise to the occasion and find our rest in the Lord.