The Great Invitation

rain and boatThursday, July 3, 2014

Matthew 11:28-30

It rained every day on a canoe trip I took some years ago with friends. Every day looked just like the day before. I think you call that a “stationary front.” The steady drizzle soaked everything in camp and reduced visibility across the waters. We spent hours under a rainfly looking at our shoes and trying to come up with one more thing to talk about. But even with the weariness of rainy days came the resiliency of my friends’ good company.

I am glad for the many in my life who give witness to the invitation of Jesus: Come to me, all you that are weary… and I will give you rest. I hear the invitation in the ways they let their lives speak. With them, needed rest is found in the patterns of worship and fellowship and routines of service. Needed rest is found by the simplicity of prayer and the openness to a learning that leads to change.

It’s hard to admit at times when we are feeling weary. The pace of our lives, the demands and the expectations can foster a tendency to work even harder. Obligations can feel burdensome. But there is something about faith that reminds us of our limitations and frees us from having to do it all.

There is a gentleness and care that speaks to our worry and constant striving; it lifts our souls and renews our hearts.

There is a good and renewing kind of rest that can greet us when we feel weary. The call to follow in the way of Jesus is accompanied with the reassurance that the work and responsibility is not shouldered by us alone but is shared by Jesus who goes before us. It is shared by our brothers and sisters in the faith who greet us, walk alongside of us, and help us ungrudgingly so.

Pastor Randy J Olson