We’ve reached that point in the summer when we officially know that fall is on its way. The hot weather will come to a close. The humidity will ease up. Routines are now almost fully adjusted as the new school year is underway. It’s that marked point in the calendar when we know we are transitioning from one season to the next—not only a season of weather, but perhaps a season of life.
It’s Labor Day Weekend. For kids it’s exciting because they get a break from school, which for the last two and a half weeks has been excruciating. Okay, maybe not excruciating, but perhaps a shock to their system. And for most adults, Labor Day Weekend means a little bit longer break from the laborious thing they call their J-O-B.
According to the United Stated Department of Labor (I didn’t even know this existed), Labor Day “constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
I’m not sure that when you and I go to work day in and day out we’re giving any thought to contributing to the “strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” We go to work. We do our job. We come home. In other words, we “labor.”
But let’s pause for a moment and forget work. Even without said employment, we still labor. We labor in the midst of raising kids. We toil over decisions we have to make. We struggle to make financial ends meet. We drudge through our over-committed lives that pull us in so many directions.
And in our labor, we languish. The lives we live outside of our 9-to-5 are stressful, and challenging, and sobering, and heavy, and pressing.
One of the coolest things Jesus said was this: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, ESV). It’s an unconditional promise of welcome. Jesus is bidding us to go to Him in the midst of the things that wear us out. He’s inviting us to meet Him in the thick of what burdens us. He’s welcoming us even in our loaded, weighed down, troubled, and overwhelmed state.
And the promise comes when He says, “I will give you rest.”
In the Greek, rest is “a ceasing from any movement in order to recover and collect your strength; to keep quiet; to refresh.” Doesn’t that sound…well…refreshing? And like I said, it’s an unconditional promise from Jesus. He didn’t say “come to me when you have your crazy life figured out.” Or “come to me when you’ve straightened up and have your act together.”
Jesus simply says “come.”
In your labor…in your weary…in your tired…in your broken-down…in your burdensome…in your “I’m barely hanging on by a thread”…in your worn out…in your messy. Jesus says “come.”
This Labor Day Weekend, rest in Him.