“Jesus said to His followers, ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’” Matthew 11:28–30
Aren’t these the most inviting words you’ve ever read? In our hectic world, Jesus promises rest. It’s not just physical rest, but rest for our souls. He invites us to come to Him and learn from Him because he is “gentle and lowly in heart.”
living like christ
We often think we learn from Jesus only by studying His formal teachings—from His profound parables to the breathtaking Sermon on the Mount. But those moments—the big, life-changing mountaintop events—made up just a tiny portion of His life. We have so much to learn from the everyday, humdrum seasons of His life. Scripture isn’t silent on those times, and for good reason.
Jesus lived much like us for the vast majority of His life. He grew up in a family and in a small town, with all the conflict and messiness that can bring. He had chores and obeyed His parents (Luke 2:51). He listened to teachers (Luke 2:46). He learned a trade and worked with others. He ate meals with family and friends. He likely went to sleep after a hard day’s work with a sore back and blisters on His hands.
And yet, through all of it, Jesus chose to live in a way that maintained nearness with God the Father. We see throughout the Gospels how Jesus incorporated the spiritual disciplines into His daily life. He chose to seek silence and solitude, stepping away from the crowds to pray (Luke 5:16, Matthew 14:23). He fasted to draw near to the Father (Matthew 4:2). He honored the Sabbath as a day of rest (Mark 2:27).
following christ in the everyday
Jesus doesn’t call us to simply put His teaching into practice by our own willpower. If we try to do that, we will fail. We will be utterly unprepared to turn the other cheek or to love our enemy if we haven’t spent time with Christ in the unseen, everyday things. As Dallas Willard puts it, “In this truth lies the secret of the easy yoke: the secret involves living as he lived in the entirety of his life—adopting his overall life-style. Following ‘in his steps’ cannot be equated with behaving as he did when he was ‘on the spot.’ To live as Christ lived is to live as he did all his life.”
Jesus invites us to a different life. He calls us to the small, everyday things—prayer, silence, solitude, sabbath—because in doing them, we find the rest He speaks of. We learn to enjoy Jesus in the day-to-day and find that the life He has called us to, no matter what it brings, will feel easy and light.