Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 11:28-29’

IMG_20171202_160825689I could not believe it. I had just finished carefully parcelling up two books of mine a customer had purchased through my website. I checked my laptop to find out her address and wrote it clearly on the front of the parcel. I started writing my own address on the back—then stopped, horrified. Without thinking, I had begun to write our old home address. Oops!

To put a positive spin on this sad event, we have been at our new address for only around five months—which isn’t long, compared with the thirty-two years we spent at our old address! Obviously, five months is not long enough for such key pieces of information to embed themselves in my brain, ready for automatic recall.

Now I had a dilemma. Should I tear up all that good wrapping paper I had used and start over? Or should I simply cross out my silly mistake, eat humble pie, risk my new customer’s raised eyebrows and write the correct address underneath?

In the end, I chose the latter, after ruefully telling my husband what I had done.

‘Ah well,’ he said, ‘the other day, for the first time since we moved, I headed home to our old house after I finished shopping, instead of our new one!’

Hmm. I wonder what would have happened if he had tried to put his key in the door?

Yet when we still lived at our old house, I too did something similar once. As I drove home late one night along Victoria Road, thinking about all sorts of things, I suddenly realised I had gone straight past our street and was heading for Parramatta! Eventually, I managed to get back on track, but all the while, I found myself thinking, ‘How could have done that? How could I have forgotten where I was heading after all these years?’

In the natural, it’s not ideal to forget where I live or drive right past my own street. But it’s a much more serious matter when I begin to do the same in the spiritual. How often, in the busyness of life, have I failed to remember where my real home is? How often do I wander around, looking for peace and comfort in the wrong places? How often have I lost sight of who I am and where I truly belong? How often do I head in the wrong direction, oblivious to those promptings of the Spirit and so preoccupied with my own thoughts and ideas rather than God’s? Yet God is always there, arms open wide, offering us the most wonderful homecoming of all, just as Jesus showed us in the story of the lost son (Luke 15). Each day, God longs to provide the rest, peace, shelter, safety, strengthening and restoration we need—yet all too often I seem to have lost God’s address.

I wonder if, this Christmas, we all need to make it a priority to find our way back home to God, to that place where we truly belong?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29

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I have to admit I’m quite a fan of Michael Leunig’s writings.  To my mind, he has a quirky gift of getting to the heart of issues and showing the absurdity of some of our ways of thinking and acting.  I particularly love his observation, via the pen of Mr Curly to Vasco Pyjama in ‘The Curly-Pyjama Letters’, about rest – or the lack of it:

It is worth doing nothing and having a rest; in spite of all the difficulty it may cause, you must rest, Vasco – otherwise you will become RESTLESS! I believe the world is sick with exhaustion and dying of restlessness.

Here Leunig highlights for us the real meaning of this word ‘restless’, which is literally to be ‘without rest’.  How often is it, however, that when we feel restless, we look for new things to do or new places to visit, thinking this will satisfy us?  Of course this may – for a while.  But usually we soon tire of these new experiences and again the old restlessness creeps up on us.  Perhaps, as Leunig suggests, we need to do nothing for a while other than rest – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

I know that for me to write and work well, I need to be at my most rested.  Yes, eight hours sleep at night helps, but I mean more than that.  I know I need to be quiet right down deep inside me, to be aware that God is there in me, beside me, all around me, holding me and loving me.  I need to still that clamour inside me that reminds me of how much I have to do, of how what I have done could be so much improved, of how inferior my writing is when compared with others’.  In other words, I need the true rest that only God can give me, the rest Jesus was talking about when he said these words:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  (Matthew 11:28-29)

Now that, to my mind, is true rest – the sort that will never be disturbed or stolen or found to be inadequate.  With that real ‘soul rest’, I know I can face the world, ready to handle whatever comes my way.

How are you feeling right now?  ‘Rested’ – or ‘restless’?

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