Unpacking

 

Well last weekend was the big move.  Along with some help from a lot of friends and family, the Bishes have a new address.

 

But I’m going to vouch for the fact that moving is not a project, but a process.  Yes, we’ve got all the stuff moved to the new location—but as everyone knows about moving—the real work begins as you start to unpack.

 

And there seems to be no statute of limitations on unpacking.  I had stuff in our last house that never came out of the box for 12 years.  That’s just crazy!

 

It’s a lot like real life you know.  There’s always something that needs unpacking.  We spend our entire lives opening up the boxes of our past and wondering what it all means—and how we can escape the consequences—you know, getting rid of that stuff once and for all so it doesn’t take up any more storage space.

 

It makes us restless and robs us of peace when we’re constantly tripping over the boxes of painful memories and purchases of worldly things, whose novelty has long worn off.  And then they all end up becoming the burdens that we pack up and take with us everywhere else we go.

 

Will we ever be able to put things away for good?

 

Jesus offered an answer to that question in the gospel of Matthew when he said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

 

Where life circumstances and poor choices and being hurt by others create unmanageable burdens—Jesus offers support.  He offers to take them and carry them for us.  He assures us that we cannot carry them by ourselves—nor are we supposed to.  He says, “Come to me.”  And he’s more than capable of carrying them.

 

It’s really what’s behind the whole idea of the Sabbath in the Bible.  Sabbath means to rest—to take a break—to adjust the load—or even get rid of it.  It’s where we get the word sabbatical.

 

And so in the beginning God created the universe… and he rested.  Not because he was tired, but because the work was done.  And it was good.

 

And then Jesus became flesh and lived among us and died on the cross for our sin.  And from the cross he uttered the words, “It is finished.”  In other words, the work he came to do is done—so now he can rest.  And it was Good News.

 

Ironically, when Jesus finished his work on the cross it also allowed us to rest—to rest from our constant working and striving to please God in our own human effort—something we couldn’t do anyway.  Religion is the most restless life there is.

 

It’s only in coming to Jesus that allows you to rest.  To rest from managing your sin… to rest from carrying the burdens of a broken world all by yourself… and to rest from the erroneous expectations of a world that is trying to persuade you to find fulfillment in things that will never satisfy.

 

And so Jesus simply invites you to come. 

 

Are you restless?  Do you lack peace?  Are you hurting?  Are you tired of trying and failing?  Are you carrying a heavy burden?  Then come.  Come to Jesus.

 

If you do, you’ll discover that the Sabbath rest is a lifestyle and not just about keeping the lawn mower in the shed on Sunday.

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