Jesus said, in Matthew 11:28-29: “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.”

Let’s take a look at what He is saying there……

“Are you tired?  Worn out? Burned out on religion?”   I  think those three are related and not separate questions…..

Are you tired from trying to keep up with the regular stress of life?   Are you worn out from the challenges of this world without any way to “fill your tank?”   Are you burned out on religion?   Are you frustrated with the church, frustrated with pastors who don’t minister well?  Frustrated with churches that don’t allow or encourage you to be real?

To be real with your pain.  To be real with your exhaustion.   To be real with your frustrations with life, with church, with the twists and turns of life that turn in what you feel are the wrong directions…….

And what does Jesus suggest in terms of how to deal with that?

“Come to me.  Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.”

Step back from trying to keep up with the proverbial “Joneses”  (sorry if your last name is Jones.)   Step back from being so involved and frantic that you don’t have time for Him.    Turn off the TV.   Put down the newspaper.   Stop following the news on Twitter.   Be selective in the ways and the means you use to try to understand what can’t be understood.   Don’t worry about The Donald – believe it or not, God has a plan for that circus.

“Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it.”   I don’t know who first said it, but there’s a saying that being a Christian is rather simple though very difficult –  “See what God is up to and be a part of it.”

“Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”

Learn – it’s not something that comes naturally.   We have to study it, think about it, learn it.

Unforced rhythms – this reminds me of the gentle lapping of the small waves at Lake Michigan.   It’s unforced, it’s a rhythm that can lull you into a sense of peace and comfort.   It’s not the wind and the roar of 8 ft waves and 40 mph winds.   That’s not the unforced rhythms.    Learn to look for God in the rhythms of life and to see his grace in it.

Grace – with all of the talking heads and the pressures and the things that are going wrong in this world, we need to learn more of God’s grace.    More of what He says, more of what He does.

Grace – when we realize we screwed up again.

Grace – when we realize that our church has been a road block rather than a welcome sign.

Grace – when someone opens the door to their pain and we walk on by without acknowledging it.

Grace – when we can’t see God’s plan and it’s too hard to understand why things happen.

Grace – in the middle of unspeakable tragedy – and in the middle of ordinary life.

Learn the unforced rhythms of God’s grace and let us all make this world a better place because God has given us grace and has given us the mandate to work with him.

TJV