yokeandpeace

The gentle invitation is always there before us, laid out and waiting, full of every true and genuine intent of love’s petition. As invitations go it is simple, yet profound;  layered with but a few words which describe many.

Come…. ALL  who labor, and I will give you  rest.

The promise of a place of rescue and rest are penned within this message of hospitality.

  • A hope-filled place of grace… a place to belong.

It is a table where joy dines, mercy is the main course, and eternity is etched within our hearts.

  • A peace-filled place of refreshment… a place to escape.

It is  a home where we can release the burdens that bind us to the weights of the world.

…….yet we fail to heed its demands, because so few of us truly come to rest.

We come, yes, but it is usually loaded with the heaviness that bends us low, keeping our eyes  looking towards  the ground as we journey.

We come, yes, but it is usually filled with the oppressive sorrow of navigating the hard things which steal the life in our living.

We come, yes, but it is usually burdened by the temporal obligations and we don’t know how to exchange them for the eternal yoke that is offered in fellowship with Christ.

We come…. but we don’t leave the load behind us.

Instead, we carry it right back down the road  while the One who has purposed to release us stands with hands still outstretched, waiting for us to see the Truth.  As we live this journey, as we continue to entertain grace and all its beauty, we see the point of the inviting…to lighten the load we wear together, to live intentionally in order to love deeply.

The revelation of His purpose solidifies  the validity of the invitation for each of us.

In order to accept the invitation for what it is, we need to recognize the One who is inviting us into His presence, where joy resides and hope abounds towards glory.

At that time Jesus began to say, I thank You,Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and clever and learned and revealed them to the childish, the unskilled, and untaught… for it was Your gracious will and good pleasure.  All things have been given to Me by the Father, and no one fully knows and understand the Son except the Father, and no one fully knows and understands the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son deliberately wills to make Him known. Come to me, ALL who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.(Matthew 11:25-28; emphasis mine)

Here in this verse is a revelation of the heart of the Father extended through the life of the Son.  It was His good pleasure to reveal Himself through the Son and thereby extend an open and welcoming invitation to us by grace.

We are entrusted to the ONE who can make good on His invitation, friend…. so what holds you back?

Grace opens doors that are not held by the standards of the world.

Somewhere in the midst of our living we are choosing to define terms that are not ours to scribe. We fill our carry-on bags with the questions that we feel defend our stance, yet in reality our terms actually defy hope as we live by our own reason and rationale.  We miss the beauty of blessing and the power of unity when we cast our vision everywhere but the one place that grace resides.

And just as easily we lift veiled eyes over the landscape of the hurting, the forgotten, the broken, the not-good-enough’s and the unfixables ( …those not so unlike us…), we look instead at the mountains we have built in our imaginations. We wear robes of pride in our closet of inadequacy, these phylacteries and prayer shawls that show our intended devotion well,  and pretend that our religion is the answer.  The scripted truths we tell ourselves, the reasons why things are hard and grace seems distant,often defer our pursuit of truth because we are heaping on more burden in the process.

But what if that isn’t what we are meant to do, friends?

What if religion is the biggest hurdle in our way, the largest stone in our basket, or the heaviest scroll we are reading from?

bench

On Sunday, I sit in a chair as my Pastor approaches the pulpit.  I scroll the empty chairs all set out inviting a body to sit in them, welcomed.   I see the faces of the saints speaking graces to one another quietly, easing the load we wear just a bit more. Soon, the echo of praise and the prayer calls us to find our seats for the benediction of grace,

“Welcome all who are weary and heavy laden… if you are weary, come. If you are carrying a heavy load, come. If you are broken, come.  You are welcome in the Name of the Lord.”

Another weight is released as  we come to these altars of hope before us.  Immediately I can feel my heart shedding baggage from that week, and I hear chords of discontent that bind me to the struggle ripping free. This invitation reminds me these burdens don’t have to be carried down a solitary road…Because the invitation isn’t just for me, it is one I can extend to others as I go.

Come… ALL who labor …. and you will find rest.

This invitation is more than a beckoning  to come, it is a petition to bow and bend near to the well of grace.  It is a plea of revelation for the weary heart to see that it is ok to be broken.  It is a gentle reminder for the down-trodden to look up and know that your load is lifted as we allow Him to meet us in the journey, and walk with us.  It is a command to obey  for the sake of liberty in our stride rather than the bondage of religion upon our feet.

By faith we come and with His grace our burdens are laid down; His yoke of peace and humble loving always lightens our journeys so we can keep on walking to the finish line and bring others with us.

Only  then will we be able to look at one another with the lens of love and hope.

Only  then will we choose to start unloading burdens from bags rather than heaping stones upon shoulders.

Only then will we really know what it means to be light-bearers who answer the invitation by extending another one to those who are taking journey.

girls walking

The destination that His invitation leads us to is the rest we find as we let go of all these things that keep us bound.  The result is the ability to lead others to liberty as we journey to grace together.

Will you accept the invitation?

What are you laboring under friend?

What is the burden that is holding you down?

What is keeping you from the invitation that He give to come and enter into His rest?

I confess, I am still learning to let the baggage sit where He  meets me. I am still learning to give up my will and take on his own, as I take that step of faith and obey. I’d like to think I pick the stones out of others bags, but I am afraid I can often add them as well as my own whether I intend to or not.  I long for the grace to be revealed in a way that the letting go brings liberty for both myself and those He puts in my path on the journey.

Praying you will find the courage to accept the invitation, too.

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Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest.  Take 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. For My yoke is wholesome (useful,  good – not harsh, hard sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.  -Matthew 11:28-30

 

Linking up with friends for the journey.

SDG Gathering, Playdates with God, Unite, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, Coffee For Your Heart, Three Word Wednesday, Moms Morning CoffeeThought Provoking Thursdays, Fellowship Fridays, Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop, Missional Women, Grace and Truth Link Up, Counting My Blessings,  My Freshly Brewed Life, Saturday Soiree, Still Saturday, Give Me Grace