My friend, may I ask you a question today? Putting down the burdens of life in order to find rest seems obvious, right? Why is it, then, that we so often try hanging onto the burdens while looking for a suitable place to find rest from them? Can that ever turn out well?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.
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I have a favorite chair in our Great Room; a well, broken-in recliner that waits for me every day, sitting in the corner of the room, next to the patio doors overlooking our front deck. It’s a comfortable chair with room enough for one of our Wiener Dogs to jump up and position itself snugly between the armrest and my leg. I guess you could say it’s accommodating. With feet pushed up and slippers on, there’s no finer feeling after a long day than a dog, slippers and a view of Holly sitting across from me in her recliner. In many ways that recliner is more of a refuge than merely a chair. It holds on to me when the busyness of the day becomes overwhelming and just says, “relax and forget the day.” Often when I’m searching out that chair I will be carrying a load of the day’s tasks with me. It’s not unusual to see me grasping a laptop while transporting a book under my arm, balancing a coffee in my left hand, and a pen fixed between my teeth. The key to being comfortable sitting down, or even finding the ability TO sit down, is the end table parked next to the chair. Before I try plopping down into the chair I place whatever I am carrying there and then I sit down. It’s simply not comfortable holding onto things while trying to wiggle into the comfort spot on the chair. Necessarily, these need to be placed to the side, on the end table.
Putting down the burdens of life in order to find rest seems obvious, right? Why is it, then, that we so often try hanging onto the burdens while looking for a suitable place to find rest from them? I’m always tempted to try sitting down in that chair holding onto what I am carrying. I maintain ownership and it seems efficient; but it never turns out well.
Here’s a story from Larry Chell on resting in Christ. “In the Philippines I heard a local pastor use the following parable to illustrate Christ’s offer of rest (Matthew ll:28) and the response of people who won’t trust Him completely: The driver of a carabao wagon was on his way to market when he overtook an old man carrying a heavy load. Taking compassion on him, the driver invited the old man to ride in the wagon. Gratefully the old man accepted. After a few minutes, the driver turned to see how the man was doing. To his surprise, he found him still straining under the heavy weight, for he had not taken the burden off his shoulders.” (Larry Chell)
Jesus says, “I will give you rest.” You know, the thing about that comfortable chair in our Great Room is this: When I sit down into its softness and warmth, it becomes my reality for the moment. And, if I allow it, that reality will quickly overwhelm whatever had been on my mind or stressing my body. If I sit down mumbling to myself, casting comments about the room, rolling my eyes in frustration over some slight done me, or sorrowing over a failure that could have been avoided, these normally stick to me pretty tightly and the chair has only minimal effect. The key to enjoying that chair fully is anticipating what it has to offer and accommodating yourself to the idea that whatever is being carried in the moment will no longer be burdening once you’re seated in that chair. You’ve got to put it down in order to find the comfort. Jesus, my friend, requires no less. Give him your load first before you fall into his abiding rest. Tarry–don’t carry!
We pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for taking our burdens, the full load of our issues and problems, and carry them for us. Forgive us, Lord, when we try to carry our burdens believing that it would be an imposition to put them on you. We need the full effect of abiding in you. Help us to put our burdens down. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day.
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