Today’s passage: Matthew 11:25-30
Being religious is very hard work. As humans tainted by sin, we seem to have an inbuilt understanding that in order for us to have any significance in this life and success in the next, we have to be successful in the here and now. We assume that we have to prove our devotion to God in order for him to accept us. We know that God is holy and perfect, and we know that he requires that of us too. And so we put every effort into being perfect.
Of course, that’s not something that we’re very good at. None of us is perfect – none of us is righteous. There’s an old joke: if you and I are being chased by a lion, I don’t have to be faster than the lion. I just have to be faster than you. And that’s the same way people and religions tend to approach God. God is angry at our failure to be perfect. But as long as I am more perfect than you,
I’ll be fine.
The problem with this approach to God is that it does nothing to allay our fears. Always there’s a nagging question – if not a suppressed certainty – that I might not be good enough for God. Being religious is hard work.
But Christians were never meant to be religious. To those wearied and burdened down by the religious treadmill, Jesus offers his rest. Rest for those wearied, like Sisyphus, of the task of perpetually pushing a boulder (our lives) up a hill (perfection) only to have it roll down again (sin).
Instead of requiring us to be perfect – Jesus invites us to let him take the load, to be united with him, and to learn from him. His yoke, Jesus promises, “is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Today, our question is simply this: who is bearing the load in our lives?