Come unto Me

“Come unto me, all ye that labour 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” (Matt. 11:28-30).

How comforting these words of our Lord Jesus Christ are to all his elect! Come unto me and I will give you rest. It seems that sometimes that is all we wish for in our busy lives – just a little rest. We can find ourselves so caught up in the stress and business of life that it can be so hard to find even a small window of time to enjoy some peace and quiet. The pile of papers continues to grow, deadlines loom nearer and nearer, and the to-do list seems to go on endlessly. When will you ever find the time to just relax?

But that’s not the kind of rest that Christ is speaking of here. “Come unto me… and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” The rest our Lord promises is rest in the truest sense – not a mere break from physical labor that replenishes our earthly energy for a brief time, but a lasting spiritual relief for the soul from the constant battle it wages in this life. Daily we struggle with fierce spiritual enemies that attack us from every side as we fight the good fight of faith. Satan and his hosts lurk around every corner, poised with fiery darts to hurl at us when we are least expecting it. The world tempts us to abandon the straight and narrow path, sweetly inviting us to “have a little fun.” But when, by the grace of God, their invitation holds no appeal to us and we refuse to join in their revelings, we are faced with hateful mocking and ridicule. And perhaps most taxing on the soul is the sin residing within ourselves. Daily we must fight against our own sinful natures that are part of who we are. A constant war wages within our own beings – the old man of sin versus the new man of regeneration,  so that we confess with the apostle Paul, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Rom. 7:19). Truly we need rest!

And truly our Savior Jesus Christ is the only place we can truly find rest. He is our High Priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.  He was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). He is the sole source of our rest and comfort for He made Himself a propitiatory sacrifice on account of our sins and imputes His perfect righteousness to our account before the Almighty Judge of heaven and earth. He gave us the ultimate victory over all our spiritual enemies and daily gives us the strength to fight the battle of faith through His poured-out Spirit. And one day He will bring us to be with Him in everlasting heavenly rest and covenant fellowship with God in heaven. That final reality is not ours yet, but we do have a small foretaste of that heavenly rest here on this earth. Every week when we enter God’s house of worship, we receive a small glimpse of the perfection that is to come. We sing His praises with fellow saints, come before the throne of God in prayer, and hear the voice of our Lord through the preaching of the gospel. When we hear and receive the preaching, we hear Christ. And doing so, we come unto Him and receive rest for our weary and heavy-laden souls. So let’s prepare ourselves to enter into that rest tomorrow. Prepare yourself to lay your burden at the cross and be comforted. Come unto Him and you will find rest for your soul.

Anna Langerak

Excitement for the Lord’s House

He can’t contain himself – as it gets closer and closer, that’s all he can talk about. Friends exchange knowing glances when the occasion comes up, knowing that just the mention of it will cause a huge smile to break out on his face, and his words will trip over themselves as he gushes about what he expects and looks forward to on that day. What is this man looking forward to? It must be a pretty big event – it seems to be taking up his whole mind. Maybe his wedding, or the vacation he’s been planning for months? No, what this man is looking forward to is worshipping His God on the Sabbath.

This man is the psalmist in Psalm 84 – he starts out his song by shouting out “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!” His joy in coming to the Lord’s house can’t wait another minute – it’s been on his mind and he must express it right away. He loves to be there, loves to “behold the beauty of the LORD” (Psalm 27:4).

In fact, this man loves the house of the Lord so much, the once or twice weekly visit is not enough for him. Psalm 42 compares this longing to that of a deer for water. A deer’s most innate instinct is to find water – it can’t survive without it. This man knows that what water is to a deer, fellowship with the Lord is to him. Personal devotions during the week satisfy him somewhat, but by Saturday, he finds himself weak, needing replenishment from the preaching on Sunday.

I think we can all confess our emotions and thoughts on Saturday night and Sunday morning aren’t always quite in line with the man described here. Saturdays are full of housework and chores, piles of homework, and then maybe hanging out with our friends at night. We head to bed and fall asleep as soon as we hit the pillow. Sunday morning comes and we wake up as late as we can while still getting to church on time and looking decent. We don’t wake up with smiles on our face that today is the day we can worship our Lord in His house. But how can we make our attitudes line up with the psalmist’s?

A great place to start is consciousness. It’s easy to go through our normal Sunday activities without thinking – after all, most of us have been doing the same types of things each Sunday since we were children. It’s a comfortable routine. But I encourage you to look at it with new eyes. When we go to our respective churches each Sunday, it’s more than just a routine – we are entering in to the very house of God. The almighty, omnipotent God, Creator of heaven and earth, the One who planned your whole life before time began, allows us into His house, the place in which He dwells. This isn’t any grudging invitation either – He chose each of us specifically to come to His house. If it was up to us, we would be running the opposite way. But by His grace, we can confess with the psalmist of Psalm 65, “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts.”

So tonight, when you set your alarm for the morning – probably earlier than you would like – think about where exactly you’re going tomorrow. Meditate on the words of Psalm 84. Mark the bulwarks of your church as the psalmist does in Psalm 48. Ask God to give you the same joy and longing expressed in so many Psalms, overflowing joy and thankfulness to be able to worship at His house.

Kenzie Kuiper

Mondays

“The weekend went by way too fast.”

“I’m dreading getting back to work.”

“I don’t feel like trying very hard on this…Oh well, it’s a Monday.”

Do you say similar things after the weekend? I know I do. I often find myself wishing I didn’t have to get back to work, school, and the busyness of the week. I feel tired, lethargic, and overlook mistakes because, well, I’m just getting back into the swing of things, and it takes time, right? I shouldn’t be expected to be ready to get back into the work I’m called to, bright and early on Monday morning! I mean, of course I’m going to be tired and lazy—I just had a whole day of rest and worship!

I just had a whole day of rest and worship.

I just spent the Lord’s Day in God’s house, worshipping my Creator with my brothers and sisters. I heard God’s commandments, and I felt the weight of my sin. I heard Christ, and I rejoiced in my salvation. I heard the Word, and I desired to walk a Christian life in the service of God.

Should I not then be excited for the week ahead, after being refreshed and reminded of what God has done for me? After that, I ought to be so thankful and ready to do His service that I’m jumping out of bed on Monday, eager to get to work.

But I fail. Often. I heard the Word, but did I it hear it with more than just my ears? Did I prepare myself to receive the gospel? Did I apply that Word to my life? Did I realize the preaching was not just for my head, but for my heart? If not, there’s no way I can be ready for the work week. I won’t hide God’s Word in my heart (Psalm 119:11). I won’t care about what God has done for me, and I won’t strive to live a life doing what He has called me to do.

So I encourage you (and myself) to prepare for true worship. Prepare that you might hear of your sin, your salvation, and be thankful. Hear the gospel within, so that all you do in life pours out from a grateful heart.

And after you hear, don’t just make Mondays bearable, but make them great days. Make them so full of joy and hard work that others see in you the love of God about which you just heard. In Exodus 20:9, God commands us, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work.” That doesn’t mean to work five days, rest one, and use one as a sluggish, “kind of working” day. Instead, let’s work “heartily, as to the Lord” (Col. 3:23). Let’s remember to “go to the ant” (Prov. 6:6), and remember how God blesses us with and through our work. This applies not just to Mondays, but to every day (and especially after long holiday weekends).

We aren’t always going to get it right, but let’s not let that stop us from striving to follow God’s commands more and more.

Let’s not make Mondays our excuse to do anything other than our best.

Mary Mahtani