Scripture: Matthew 11:28-29
28 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 29 Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
In nature, everything is in a state of movement and in all movement, a rhythm is found. Rhythm pervades everything. The grace of natural rhythms is expressed in the phases of the moon, the ebb and flow of the ties, the earth’s rotation, and the changing of the seasons. Likewise, the human body has observable rhythms like the natural movement for the heart to open and close rhythmically thousands of times throughout the day. Other rhythms are expressed in the pulsing of blood as it flows through our veins, and the very act of breathing.
Scripture affirms these rhythms. In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon writes that “there is a time and season for everything.” But these rhythms are fleeting. And oftentimes, our rhythms get out of whack. They get out of whack because we fail to walk with, work with and learn from Jesus.
In the constant bustle of everyday life, I constantly find myself tired, worn out, and, if I am to be honest, at times burned out on Christianity. This mostly happens when I lean on my own strength, set my agenda, and get busy doing my “important” work. In short, I (we) get out of rhythm. But Jesus invites us to be in relationship with Him. Moreover, Jesus understands that we will always feel both tensionand reliefin His invitation. Jesus says “come to me, get away with me and you’ll recover your life.” His invitation to come to Him is open an ongoing. It implies that we will constantly fall back into our busyness and lose our life, our rhythm.
Not only is the invitation open and ongoing, it’s also a process. He wants us to “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” We will learn these rhythms if we open ourselves up to be teachable– that is to set aside what we think we know, sit quietly, and simply receive His grace.
- Take an inventory of your current rhythm. Is it in the flow of a natural relationship with Jesus? What do you need to set-aside to get back into the unforced rhythms of grace?
- Reflect on how you find rest during those busy seasons. Is there one thing that you could set aside, and make room for yourself to just rest in God’s presence?
Soul Care Practice
Become aware of God’s loving presence and imagine Jesus saying these words to you: “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace…” Talk with Jesus about any thoughts, reflections, challenges, and emotions that come up within you. How can you embody these words and follow Christ in your home, neighborhood, and workplace?
Read Jesus’ words again slowly: “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace…” How did these words shape and guide you today? Pray your thoughts, desires, needs, struggles, and joys from today. As you go to bed, rest in God’s presence.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
Written by John Williams, Director of the Fellowship Center for Racial Reconciliation