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Pastor's Study > Humility and Rest

3 Dec 2010

Dear Pastor,

Are you feeling energized and organized?   Do you sense that you are walking in all the works that Jesus in His marvelous grace has prepared for you beforehand?   Or are you a bit tired?   Do you sense weariness in your soul?   Do you feel your particular pastorate has needs that no one could possibly fulfill?    Jesus has some good news!

Jesus promised rest, rest for the weary and heavy laden.    It seems there are three general types of weariness, the weariness from protracted physical labor, weariness from prolonged lack of sleep, and weariness from lingering unresolved anxiety.    The weariness that results from lack of sleep is easily remedied.  And the weariness that results from extended physical labor can be rapidly repaired with sufficient physical rest and sleep.

It seems that our bodies have been designed to self-renew themselves from these two kinds of fatigue.   However the weariness that has its origin in protracted anxiety is not easily addressed by our natural activities.   It is this weariness, this sense of being laden down, that Jesus is primarily addressing in His promise to provide rest.

Let’s examine Jesus’ promise as expressed in the Amplified Bible.

Matthew 11:28-29 (AMP)
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]  

The promise to refresh our souls reveals Jesus is primarily speaking about the burden that is internal, the weariness that resides in the back of our minds and deep within our souls.

29Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

It is not enough to take the yoke of Jesus upon ourselves.   The yoke is for learning.   The secret of internal rest for our souls is to learn humility and gentleness directly from Jesus.   It is the humility and gentleness of Jesus that will bring to us renewal, the refreshment of our souls. 

 When an inexperienced ox is yoked with an experienced ox they can work together effectively on the basis of the experience of the experienced ox, if the inexperienced one is willing to yield and thus learn from the one with experience.    Abiding with Jesus in our quiet time will bring an essential measure of rest for a time, but learning humility from the humble and gentle heart of Jesus as we walk together in our work is key to experiencing the rest and constant refreshment of our souls.  Oxen are yoked together to work.

Achieving humility is not a light switch.  It’s more like a dimmer.    Growing in humility is a process, a learning process that is driven by abiding with Jesus in everything we do.   The Holy Spirit is our source of power and our Provider.    Jesus, speaking of the Holy Spirit said: “He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.”                              -  John 16:14 (AMP)

Notice that Jesus first says: “ Come to Me.”    There is a genesis of humility required to come to Jesus.  Pride shouts: “I can do it myself”    While humility whispers: “ I need your help.”    We come to Jesus with a seed of faith and with a certain expectancy to receive help and relief.  Heart dependence on Jesus is the soul of humility.

After we come to Him, Jesus instructs us to learn humility and gentleness by walking intimately with Him in our “work.”    This is the process that beings a deep rest and blessed quiet for our souls.  

We can only achieve real rest when we invite Jesus to lead us and teach us in our work.   He stands ready with His yoke.   Patiently He waits on us to stop trying to get it right ourselves and to come to Him, to utilize His experience in our work.   Jesus knows the best way to do our work.   He is able to see all the possibilities and to always choose the best options.   It is not only in our work that Jesus wants us to join Him, He desires to lead us in our recreation, in our service and in every other part of our lives.

There are two significant outcomes which flow out of our humble instant intimacy with Jesus.  First, He brings us rest, real soul emancipating rest.  Second, He is glorified by our peace.    “I pray that all of these people continue to have unity in the way that you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they may be united with us so that the world will believe that you have sent me.”   -      John 17:21 (GW)

The rest that Jesus promises and strongly desires to provide to us not only brings a deep peace and joy to the depths of our heart, this rest simultaneously shines a bright light of hope to the unbelieving world proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of mankind!


 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”       -  Jesus    [Matthew 11:28-30 (ASV)]


Jeff Williams