Put That Burden Down! - Girlfriends in God - September 21, 2011

September 21, 2011
Put that burden down!
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28, NASB).

Friend to Friend
Our air conditioner was just not getting the job done. It only partially cooled the house, running night and day, doubling our already exorbitant electric bill. I called John, our friendly air conditioning repairman, with a desperate plea for help. When he came to the house, the first thing he did was remove the filter from the vent. It was filthy, completely covered by some nasty gray gunk! Changing the air filter had never been one of my top priorities, as evidenced by the dirt and hair-caked object in front of me.

With a disapproving scowl wrinkling his weathered face, John continued working, muttering under his breath. I pretended not to hear. He then removed the coil which proved to be the last straw for him. With a sigh of exasperation, John dramatically thrust the offensive coil in front of my face, pointed at the almost unrecognizable object and asked, “What is this?” My response was classic. “John, how am I supposed to know what that is? You’re the air conditioning expert.” He did not think the comment was funny.

In an attempt to avoid his scathing glare, I stepped forward and began to closely examine the obviously faulty coil. It was covered with layers of dog hair, compliments of our West Highland terrier and Australian cattle dog; cat hair, compliments of Sassy, Chocolate and Tiger; and dust, compliments of me!

John then proceeded to chastise me for not changing the filter more often and ended his discourse with an ominous explanation, “Mrs. Southerland, this unit was never meant to work under this kind of load. It’s working as hard as it can, but it’s not strong enough to do something it was never intended to do.” John then replaced the air filter, cleaned out the coil along with our bank account, and left the scene of the crime. The electric bill went back down, the house was cooler than it had been in months, and the unit worked like it was supposed to work. I forgave him and learned a thing or two about burdens.

We come to Jesus, asking and trusting Him to save us from the eternal burden of sin, but we find it hard to believe that He can and will carry the burdens we deal with every day. We forget that He is our Shepherd and we are His sheep, totally dependent upon Him for every need – big and small.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters (Psalm 23:1-2).

Notice the words “makes me lie down.” They are not a suggestion. The word used in this verse is “rabas,” a Hebrew command meaning to rest; lay something down; to lay down in rest - securely and safely. God is commanding us to lay down our burdens and spiritually rest our souls in Him. It is important to note that the place of rest to which Jesus is referring - the Judean landscape - is not naturally a place I would describe as restful or replenishing. It is dry, parched, and sandy. A shepherd has to spend a great deal of time working the land; tilling it, cultivating it and planting it in order to grow the young, tender, green shoots of grass the sheep like best. The sheep graze on the finished work of the shepherd. The Shepherd of our souls wants us to rest in His finished work on the cross. If Jesus can save us, He can certainly handle every burden we will ever have. We simply have to make the choice to release each burden to Him.

Some days are harder than others. There are so many things that can get us down. Long hours at work, difficult relationships, financial difficulties, medical conditions, emotional stress and family responsibilities are just a few of burdens we tend to carry.

Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28, NASB).

In Matthew 11:28, the word “rest” literally means “tranquility in the midst of labor.” The implication is to be still before Him and choose to release each burden to Him. How? When the kids are screaming and on your last nerve, put on some praise music and dance your stress away. Meditate on His Word when you are confused and afraid. Pray as you do the laundry. List your blessings as you clean house. Look for His hand in every part of every circumstance. Our Father does not intend for us to carry the burdens He alone can shoulder.

Jesus understands the burdens we carry. During His time on earth, Jesus healed the sick and set the captives free. He established the Church, sent the Holy Spirit to teach us and took His rightful place at the right hand of the Father. The church works on His behalf to help us. The Holy Spirit indwells us in order to guide and comfort us and Jesus Himself intercedes for us with the Father. So when Jesus said “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,” He really meant it.

What burden do you have? What is weighing you down? Bring it to Jesus. He will comfort and guide you. He will give you rest. Right now, in the midst of that worry or issue or concern, the God of the universe is asking you to turn it over to Him. Let Him work it out in His timing and His perfect way.

Let’s Pray
Lord, I bring my burdens to You, knowing that I can do nothing apart from You and Your power. You know my situation. It is not a surprise to You, Lord. Please fill my heart with Your peace and comfort my soul. Guide me, Father. Give me strength. I give You my burdens; please give me Your rest.
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn
Read and memorize Matthew 11:28. Record it in your journal. Identity the areas in your life in which you need peace and rest.

Make a list of burdens that you will lay down at His feet and leave there. When you are tempted to pick up one of those burdens, choose instead to meditate on and walk in the truths of Psalm 23, trusting your Shepherd every step of the way.

More from the Girlfriends
Looking for a Bible Study that is both practical and powerful? Check out Mary’s E-Book Bible Studies. Each one includes a study guide that you can download for your personal use or for a small group study. Time: Friend or Foewill help you learn how to manage time and set goals.

Come As You Areis Mary’s NEW Online Bible Study that begins September 26! The most common invitation offered by Jesus Christ is simply to "come." He doesn't ask us to fix what is wrong or expect us to clean up our lives. That is His responsibility. Jesus loves us just as we are and when we come to Him with a "yes" in our hearts, He lovingly transforms the broken places into beautiful scars of healing and new life. Enroll before October 1 and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebookor through email.

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Originally published Wednesday, 21 September 2011.