I am sharing with you an article written by my friend, David Manner today. After a season of piling on too many things in ministry, I needed to hear these words, “Come to me those who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Shut off all the busyness of life and read this article right now. Find the rest that God can give you.
By David Manner
The parable is told of a poor farmer who had no wagon to carry his crops to market. So, he strapped that burden on his back and walked to town. A rich farmer with a horse and wagon came upon the poor farmer, had mercy, and offered him a ride. The poor farmer jumped on the back of wagon with his crops still strapped to his back. When the rich farmer asked him why, the poor farmer responded, “I knew you offered to carry me, but I didn’t realize you were offering to carry my burden too.”
Jesus said, “Come to me those who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Eugene Peterson paraphrased that Matthew 11:28-30 passage this way:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Those of us in ministry often carry burdens that are not ours to bear. Some of that stress is church imposed, but it is just as often self-imposed. So, is that really what God intended when he called us to ministry? Scripture offers us some unforced rhythms of grace reminders when we still have that burden strapped on our own back.
- When ministry feels like being caught in the undertow of a riptide, remember that God reaches down from on high, grabs you, and takes you out of that water (Ps 18:16).
- When you worry if your children will even like church when they are no longer required to attend, remember that Jesus loves your children too, and wants them to inherit God’s kingdom (Luke 18:15-17).
- When your ministry shelf life seems to be moving quickly toward the expiration date; or you are the latest forced termination victim, remember to run this ministry endurance race by keeping your eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:1-2).
- When congregants target your family because they are upset with you, remember God is your refuge and strength in times of great trouble (Ps 46:1).
- When you are tempted to quit every Monday morning, remember to be strong and don’t lose heart, because your work will be rewarded (2 Chron 15:7).
- When the senior adult potluck dinner is the only date night with your spouse; or when you have to schedule your family vacation after the youth camp, children’s camp, and Vacation Bible School, but before the fall ministries kickoff, remember to learn from Jesus’ example of rest by putting on his yoke, not your own (Matt 11:28-30).
- When it seems like no one is holding your rope, standing in the gap, or watching your back, remember you have a great cloud of witnesses surrounding you (Heb 12:1).
- When you are always the first one to arrive and last one to leave, remember you are doing it in his power, not your own (Isa 40:29).
- When your creativity has been exhausted and burnout is causing you to coast, remember that the Lord is the potter and you are the clay so it’s the work of his hands, not yours (Isa 64:8).
- When you don’t have the resolve to take care of yourself spiritually, physically, and emotionally, remember the Lord gives you power when you’re tired, revives you when you’re exhausted, and increases your drive when reserves are depleted (Isa 40:29-31).
This article first appeared on David’s blog, WorshipEvaluation.com. It is reposted here with permission.
Book Helps Worship Teams Evaluate Worship Services
Better Sundays Begin on Mondays: 52 Exercises for Evaluating Weekly Worship offers foundational worship considerations to help leadership teams ask questions evaluatively rather than defensively. These weekly reflections encourage worship leaders and their teams to think beyond style to biblical and theological worship content.
Print and E-Version copies are available here.
David is a frequent contributor to this blog.