We live in an age of agitation. If there’s one constant in our day, it’s that everyone is restless, anxious, on edge, and stirred up. This restless anxiety and agitation is significantly influenced by voices. And while it’s fashionable and easy to lament the voices that stir us up to anger and desire and agitation, the truth is that we bear much of the responsibility for our agitation. Yes, we are agitated and restless because of the voices that cry aloud in the streets, and on television, and on the web, and in our pockets, but we are the curators of those voices. We willingly listen. But we don’t have to. We can listen to another Voice.
Consider the voice of Jesus in Matthew 11.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
What does this voice say? What do we hear in this voice? We hear three things: invitation, description, and promise. Hear the invitation, given in three ways: “Come to me; take my yoke upon you; learn from me.” This is the invitation from Jesus. Come, sinner, as you are. Come to me, and learn. Come to me, and take my yoke.
Beneath the invitations are descriptions. Jesus tells us about ourselves. He also tells us about himself. And he tells us about his yoke. Who are we? We are those who labor and are heavy laden. Restless, tired, agitated, and burned out. That’s who we are.
And who is Jesus? Gentle and lowly. Yes, he is the beloved Son of a happy Father, the sovereign king who reveals truth, the one whose unveiled face dims the sun. But here, for us, for the weak and heavy-laden, he is gentle and lowly. He is strong in his gentleness, and mighty in his lowliness. This is the true majesty and meekness of the Son of God who invites us to come.
And what of his yoke? It is no burden. Bearing his yoke is lighter than bearing our own, lighter even than attempting to bear no yoke. Our attempts at yokelessness are a joke. They don’t work; they leave us agitated and restless. And so, Jesus calls us to take his easy yoke and light burden.
And then he makes promises. I will give you rest; you will find rest for your souls. This is the great promise to us in an age of agitation. In the midst of our weariness and our restlessness, he has still made us for himself, and our hearts will remain restless until they rest in him.
- Praise God for his grace on the Board of Trustees meeting last week. The Trustees met for six hours on Thursday and emerged with a clarified vision for the school for the coming years, as well as a renewed commitment to the unique vision for Education in Serious Joy in the context of the local church that Bethlehem offers.
- Pray that God would begin to bring us the right students to join us in the Fall of 2022. Our admissions and recruitment efforts are underway, and we are taking applications.
- Pray for Serious Joy: The 34th Bethlehem Conference for Pastors, which we will be relaunching in February 2022. Our theme is Gravity and Gladness in a Groaning World. Pray for both our preparation and the pastors who will be joining us.
- Pray for the full funding of the Serious Joy Scholarship for all our resident students.