Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Burdens


Making our burdens light and telling the world about Jesus Christ
A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

September is my least favorite month. With the exception of my firstborn’s birthday, there’s not a thing I like about it. Well, maybe harvest season.

I do like the backyard garden full of tomatoes and chilies, not to mention the farm stands bursting at the seams. We have a short growing season in Massachusetts, so this month is all a race against the first frost to get everything in and preserved or canned for the long winter. But that’s about it.

This is also the official back-to-school month (after a stutter of a few ‘orientation’ days right before Labor Day weekend) and for our particular family, this means three different schools with conflicting dates for open house meetings and various paperwork deadlines. This is our most “broke” month monetarily as well, since my husband’s current primary job is seasonal and in August, it pretty much dries up altogether. 

September is stress to me. Oh yeah, and stress’s cousin, anxiety arrives! This week, I’ve worked longer hours than any other this year and I’m just done.

Jesus knows what it is to work hard, to have life challenge your ability to cope. He is fully God and walked this earth fully human. I think that’s why the verse above appeals to us so much. We’re weary and burdened. Life does that to a person. Jesus knew that firsthand. He created this world, watched as the first humans – created in His image – fell into sin, and lived out His incarnation on the planet that groans under the weight of that sin curse. The thorns that Adam experienced after the curse that happened after Adam and his wife (Eve) sinned, were experienced in quite a different way by our Savior (Jesus Christ) en route to the Cross of Calvary. But there was a difference.

Jesus Christ’s human experience here on Earth was sinless, although He continually encountered the effects of sin. He paid the price of our sins on the cross, but He had to deal with the lesser wages of sin every step of the way from the manger to the grave. He could have cried, “Unfair!” and used His power like a force field, but instead, He showed us His work ethic. Despite everything He went through, Jesus persevered and stayed true to His mission to save our souls.

He deserved none of it, but Jesus humbled Himself and took on the weight of the world for the duration of His whole life on this planet, up to His death on the cross.

We can use Christ’s example of how to deal with the stress, anxiety, pressure, oppression, intolerance, and persecution that we do deserve because we are still under that curse. Christ will give us rest, and we will find rest for our souls when we repent and put our faith in the One who is our Savior and the Lord of our lives.

Jesus is offering us rest beyond our understanding. He’s offering us work too, but learning from Him, the task is easy. He’s recruiting souls for the Gospel truth.

This is the amazing thing about Christianity. It’s not a wish-fulfillment faith. Jesus doesn’t offer us money to make our lives easier, or the power to change our circumstances. He offers us a heart transformation to view the burdens of our life through new eyes. He isn’t promising us that life will be easy and untroubled.

Instead, Jesus asking us to join Him in working as His disciples to tell the world about Him and allow God’s love for humankind to change us and everyone we encounter, for the better!

~*~
Author Bio:
Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.

A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world, love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.

She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England. Connect with Christa at www.christamacdonald.com.

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