A Personal Invitation

Rest For The Weary Soul
Today is part 4 in the series, Rest For The Weary Soul

There’s nothing quite like going to the mailbox and finding, tucked between your normal every day pile of bills and junk mail, an envelope with your name hand-lettered in a beautiful script.

Someone thought about you. Someone spent some time on you. Someone wants you to join them somewhere.

One of the most special things I am asked to do is hand-letter wedding invitation envelopes. It’s such a privilege to be able to participate in a small way on someone’s most special of days.

It’s a special day for their friends and family too, and I can just imagine their excitement as they discover their invitation in the mail. Calling other friends and family of the bride and groom, “I’ve got my invitation! Did you get yours yet?”

Today’s scripture is a familiar one for me. I’ve studied it, memorized it, illustrated it. It’s a beautiful message directly from Jesus himself – an invitation of rest.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 
Matthew 11:28-30, ESV

At the time and place Jesus spoke these words, it was widely recognized that the “yoke” symbolized the burden of the religious laws and legalism imposed on the people by the Scribes and Pharisees. If we jump ahead to Matthew 23, we see Jesus heaping seven woes on the religious leaders beginning with their hypocrisy.

“For they preach, but do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, 
and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves 
are not willing to move them with their finger” 

Matthew 23:3b-4, ESV

Jesus, by contrast, came with a message of salvation based on God’s love NOT man’s works. He didn’t offer a complicated set of activities someone needs to accomplish in order to receive the reward of salvation; no, He preached that one simply had to believe. This salvation that Jesus offered meant the people could lay down their yokes of religious performance and find rest in God’s grace.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”   
Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV

Even today this is a concept we have difficulty with. We may know these things to be true, having read and understood them, but we live in a culture that is totally performance driven and our worldly view can influence our spiritual view. Just like it did for the Scribes and Pharisees.

Yes, we are to be obedient to God in our actions, but this obedience is not what brings us our salvation. Our obedient actions are evidence of our salvation.

Our good works do not earn our salvation, rather they are evidence of our salvation.

How do we find rest for our weary soul in this performance driven culture

One of the most beautiful things about studying the Bible is that it is always teaching. God reveals new things from familiar words or brings fresh perspective from something we’ve seen over and over.

Studying today’s scripture, this happened to me.

All of the above is a valuable lesson for us to draw from these verses in Matthew 11, but today, three little words leap off the page at me: Come to me.

Almost 30 times in the New Testament Jesus issues the invitation to come to Him or to follow Him. This is an invitation to know and trust Him personally, not to merely believe some historical facts about Him.

God desires a personal relationship with each and every one of us. Jesus is our personal hand-written invitation from Him. His love is there for us to receive, there is nothing we need to do to earn it, there is nothing we CAN do to earn it. In this place of relationship with God, when we choose to be in His midst, this is where we find true peace and rest for our souls – for our time here on Earth and for our eternal rest with Him.

“The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”   
Zephaniah 3:17

Can you imagine God singing over you? Just like the guests of a wedding sing and celebrate the newlyweds, God sings and celebrates each of us.

I am enjoying our Rest For The Weary Soul mini-series, and although the verses selected were random, at least on my part, I see two themes consistently emerging from each day:
1. True rest is only found in God
2. We must choose to accept it

I’ve learned that rest IS available to me, but I have to choose it. I choose it with my heart and prayers, but I also choose it with my actions. I need God to show me which of my actions are spawned from genuine faith-based obedience and which of my actions are burdensome religious performances.

Oh, am I brave enough to ask?

How about you, friend? Are you burdened down with empty performances aimed at meeting someone’s religious expectations? Meeting your own self-imposed expectation?

Let’s be brave together. Let’s lay these heavy burdens down, let’s trade the yoke of legalism and performance for Jesus’ yoke of grace. In doing so, we choose to accept the beautiful gift of rest for our souls that can only be found in Him.

Lord God, your grace and love abound at a measure that we cannot understand. That you would want to have a relationship with me is utter amazement to me, yet my heart wants to draw nearer every day. Father, help me lay down my burdensome yoke, let go of the things you instruct me to let go of and pick up your yoke. Thank you for sharing the load of my sin. Thank you for offering yourself in my place. Thank you for bringing rest to my weary soul.  In Jesus name, AMEN.

Blessings Soul Friends,


This blog post is part of the Rest For The Weary Soul series. Access the full series by clicking on the image below. 
Jana Kennedy-Spicer is a wife, mom and Nana.  A born and raised Texas-girl who loves boots, sunflowers, and sweet tea.  She has a heart for studying God's Word and is passionate about encouraging women to do the same.  Connect with Jana at SweetToTheSoul.com

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