I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Psalm 143:6
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
We recently had a little fun getting to know each other through an office scavenger hunt. We each offered clues to other staff members, and invited each other into our offices to see if they could figure out what our special item was. One particularly touching item was a thank you card from my mother to our office manager some years ago. That was Lorene’s special item. She will one day give it to me, she said, this card in my mother’s own handwriting.
The item I chose is pictured above. The plaque was a gift from my wife on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of my ordination – nearly 30 years ago. It is special to me not only because it was a gift from Diane, but also because it is my confirmation verse and the verse used at my ordination by the pastor who confirmed me. It hangs on the wall you face as you walk into my office.
It expresses a powerfully important truth that, as often as I remember it, sustains me in my calling. Some days I do “get weary and sick of tryin'” (Thanks George Gershwin, for putting words to a sometimes deeply felt emotion we all experience from time to time). The challenges of ministry and of leadership sometimes loom large. On some level that’s no different from any other job. If you are dedicated to your vocation, and give yourself to your calling, sometimes the burdens of your calling can weigh heavy.
But no matter one’s calling, and how heavy the burden, Jesus invites us to come to him. He is the source of true rest and stamina. In those difficult times we also learn something we might otherwise never realize. We all thirst for the refreshment that only God can provide. In challenging times as we become aware of our weariness and thirst we can reach out to God.
Jesus refreshes our souls. He renews our spirit. He gives our body strength. Recently I have been yearning for that refreshment. My thoughts have been focused toward a getaway, a vacation. Preferably on some warm tropical island with no internet or phone connections! But these words are for me today. I’m turning to Jesus and seeking the refreshment he offers and taking his yoke. His yoke is easy, and his burden is light.