Benjamin Franklin popularized the proverb: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” However, contrary to popular belief, Franklin did not propose the idea for Daylight Saving Time. The idea came from New Zealander George Hudson who valued extra hours of daylight for collecting bugs after his daily shift-work. Whether you spend your extra hour sleeping, reading, or collecting bugs, I hope it is restful. But if you woke up today still tired, stressed, and carrying a heavy burden, you need more than just an extra hour in your day. Jesus was aware that true rest doesn’t come from simply more time in your day, it comes from being in His presence and allowing Him to carry your heavy burden.
In today’s Scripture, Matthew records part of a sermon that Jesus often preached. It was Jesus’ conclusion that was most memorable for His listeners, for Matthew, and perhaps for you as well. Jesus calls everyone who is weak, weary, tired, famished, sick, burdened, or looking for something different to search no further and come to Him. He proclaims that in Him a person can discover true rest. In verse 29, Jesus uses the metaphor of a wooden crosspiece—a yoke that fastens two animals together for plowing—to illustrate how He gives this rest. In other words, the God of the universe is volunteering to take on our load, teaching us how to live, demonstrating gentleness and humility, so our souls can experience respite.
This invitation was unlike any other that people in the first century would have heard. Similarly, Jesus’ invitation to find rest remains true for you and me today. While we ought to be thankful for a good night’s rest and an extra hour to our day, ultimately we ought to thank God for the true rest that comes only from taking Jesus’ yoke upon us.
Find time today to quiet your soul, spend time with Jesus, and experience the rest He gives. When you share with others how you spent your extra hour, be sure to thank God for the true rest you find in Jesus. If you are interested in studying this topic further, see our February 2016 issue, God’s Promise of Rest.