Are you tired? 

Tired of the monotony?  Every day the same?  Tired of the treadmill of life?  Tired of the aches and pains that won’t go away?  The post-holiday bills?  The post-holiday dreariness? 

Or are you tired of certain people?  Do they make your life complicated?  Do they cause you more work, or make your work less of a joy and more of a chore?  Are you tired of your relationship?  Is it no longer the exciting adventure it once was? 

Are you tired trying to keep up with expectations?  Your boss is ever making demands that always seem out of reach.  Or, you can never make your parents happy – or maybe it’s your children.  How demanding they can be!  They always need an extra $20, or $40.  And if you won’t cough it up, they’ll make a scene. 

Are you tired, my friend?  Out of breath? 

Maybe you’re tired of trying to be thin.  Trimming down can be hard work!  You see your husband’s eyes wandering, and you don’t fit into the clothes you used to wear five years ago.  You try and try, you work and work.  And yet that perfect body dangled in front of you in every commercial and on the cover of every magazine is just out of reach.  And you’re tired of it.

Perhaps you are tired intellectually.  You have tried to wrap your mind around challenging problems.  You’ve read, you’ve studied.  You’ve become quite a scholar, and you thought that would put your mind at ease from all those thorny questions of life.  What is it all about?  Is there ultimate meaning?  Is there any certainty in ethics – or, for that matter, is there any certainty at all?  Are we just left with rival points of view, like bickering children without parents to intervene? 

Are you tired in your pursuit after happiness?  You’ve tried so many things to get it.  You want it in the perfect job, but there is no perfect job.  You want it in the perfect man.  How tired you are of men!  Perhaps you indulge yourself in one sexual encounter after the other.  But have you found happiness yet?  Is true rest there?  Or isn’t this quest just a cruel taskmaster, driving you on like a slave? 

Are you tired?  Exhausted?  Weighted down with a load that you just can’t bear another minute?  I have good news for you.  Jesus, the eternal Son of God, has stepped into your weary world.  Full of life, full  of joy, full of rest – and He offers it to you.  “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”(Matt. 11:28).  The ease, the comfort, the quiet, the contentment – everything you have been seeking, longing for.  It’s in his hands.  The Father gave it to Him, and He welcomes you to it.

You know, your problem not so much that you seek the comfort of rest.  You’re wired to avoid trouble and seek rest.  God made you that way.  Your problem and mine, though, is that we have fallen into sin.  Sin has spread through the whole of your being, tainting everything.  It has perverted your mind, telling you to find satisfaction in things and not the Giver of those things.  It tells you even to justify doing evil and to call it ‘good’ – as long as it makes you happy. 

Sin has also warped your will and emotions.  You’re wired to seek pleasure, but the wires are now twisted, bent out of shape and broken. Perhaps you find pleasure in sexual uncleanness or in gawking and ridiculing others.  Maybe you get comfort from venting your angst at people who frustrate you.  The release – oh, the release!  You got that off your chest (and now it’s on hers)!  But after all of that nasty business, have you found rest after all?  Isn’t it still out of arm’s reach, if not just a bit farther off? 

You see, the God who wired us to seek rest is Himself the only restful rest.  Or if you like, God is the only rest that is worthy of the name.  St. Augustine once put it this way, “our souls are restless until they find their rest in thee.” Rest cannot be found in sin.  Nor can in be found in the myriad of otherwise good things in this world that just weren’t designed to fill the God-shaped void in our soul.  What we, tired and burdened  wretches need is in the Father – and in His Son. 

Come to Him.  He invites you, if you are tired.  Leave behind your sins, as wearisome as they are.  “The way of transgressors is hard.” Turn from your vain attempts to find rest in people, in property, in pleasures.  They are mirages.  Their breasts are dry – there is no nourishment, no satisfaction there. 

Are you tired of being tired?  “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

All for Nothing?

Archaeologists in Denmark had had made amazing discoveries. In the middle of bogs and lakes, they were finding all kinds of ancient artifacts – precious jewels, swords, and even the hulls of finely crafted warships. Many of them belonged to the fourth century A.D., several hundred years before the Vikings went on their rampages throughout Europe and ventured into the New World.

(from flickr.com)The amazing thing, however, is how they got there. These valuables were not lost, but thrown away. You see, in those days these people believed that powerful spirits lived in lakes, gods who controlled their lives. If they won a victory in battle, they would not ‘take the spoil,’ but would toss it all into the lake as an offering to the gods who lived there. It was all a kind of insurance policy. Toss in these valuables, and that respect earns you the good favor of the unseen water-dwellers. To pocket the goods just might seal your doom.

What a terrific waste, you might say! If, in fact, one of these ancient swords was worth, say, a new Camry in the modern day, then just imagine the power of that lie. Nothing demanded these costly jewels. Nothing was appeased by the enemies’ swords. And in return for these riches, nothing promised them protection from the next bloody raid.

We might laugh at such nonsense. And yet with all our education, degrees, careers, houses, cars, cell phones, and a thousand other trinkets of modern convenience, what is it all for? We’ve got to toss them away as we leave this life. Our earthly possessions will have to be left elsewhere for some other giddy archaeologist to dig up a thousand years later. So what is it all for? All for nothing?

And yet others  just might excuse these primitive folk with a polite, ‘Well, if it worked for them, it was worth it.’ We live in a time when everything is relative. Who is to look down on these ancient people for their beliefs? Everyone is entitled to his own opinions.

But did it really ‘work’ for them? Let’s not kid ourselves. These poor people wasted their hard-earned riches. And if we’re willing to be honest with ourselves, we are fast approaching the brink the next world only to toss – not just our goods – but our very lives into the abyss.

Beyond nothing, however, there is something. There is Someone. He has made you, given you “life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). But He does not ‘work for you,’ as those Danish lake gods worked for those who bought their protection. That’s the difference. With God, it is all a free gift. And He who has given you everything requires nothing short of your life. It is His!

So we don’t ask if God works for you; but do you work for God? “The LORD hath made all things for himself” (Prov. 16:4). Yes, to give yourself up to God is to lose everything.

But that loss is not a waste. It is a gain. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Mat. 16:25). Cast it all into the hands of God.