There are so many things today that bombard our senses, demand our attention, and compete for our emotions. As we continue to exist in a world so bent on desensitizing us, maybe your day feels more like a survival mission. 2000 years ago, Jesus brought us a solution to our burnout, heartbreak, and weary hearts. When we are at our worst, Jesus says, “Come to Me.”
The following was taken from Courson’s Application Commentary, which contains short, insightful notes and longer topical studies such as the one below.
A Word to the Weary:
Although it took place in the 1930s, it remains one of the most mystifying missing person cases in FBI files. After spending an evening out with friends, a 45 year-old New York judge hailed a taxi and was never heard from again. The FBI immediately suspected a kidnapping by someone who held a judicial grudge against him. But that didn’t seem to pan out. They then suspected Mafia activity because he was an outspoken enemy of the Mafia. But again, that led nowhere. To this day, there is only one remaining clue. When his wife returned to their apartment that evening, there on the table was a check for a large sum of money made out to her and a note in her husband’s handwriting which simply said, “I am very, very tired. Love, Joe”.
The question remains–
Were those words merely a comment made at the end of a particularly trying day? Or was his note saying, “I’m tired; I’m fatigued; I’m weary; I give up”? To this day, we can’t be sure. For lack of further evidence, it’s presently believed he rode off to an unknown destination where he took his own life because weariness had weighted his soul. I think all of us from time to time can relate to that kind of weariness – which comes from life itself. If you are of average weight and height, here is what you will go through in an average 24 hour period: Your heart will beat 103,689 times. Your blood will travel 168 million miles as your heart pumps approximately 4 ounces per beat. You will breathe 23,040 times, inhaling 438 cubic feet of air. Your stomach will take in 3.5 pounds of food and 2.9 quarts of liquid. You’ll lose 7/8ths of a pound of waste. You will speak between 4,800 and 7,000 words. You will move 750 muscles and exercise 7 million brain cells.
No wonder we’re tired! But there is a weariness much more draining than physical fatigue. It’s the kind of weariness you feel when you just don’t know if you can go on another day. It’s the weariness a father feels when his child is doing wrong, the weariness a friend feels who has been abandoned or misunderstood, and the weariness a wife feels whose husband has rejected her. It can take a toll on even the most seemingly successful individuals.
There is One, however, who said
“Come to me, all you who are weary…” (Matt. 11:28). How I appreciate that! The Lord of the universe invited anyone who is weary to come to Him. If I were the Lord, I don’t know if I would make that kind of invitation. Keep in mind that at this point in Matthew’s Gospel, Israel is rejecting His invitation to make Him King. Consequently, no longer is Jesus speaking to a nation corporately, saying, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
No, now He is speaking to individuals personally, saying, “Come to Me, any who are weary, any who are laboring”. Would you have called this group of people? I’m not sure I would. I think I would say, “Come unto me, all you who are happy—let’s celebrate life together! Let’s lift each other’s spirits!” Or maybe I would have said, “Come unto me, all you who are wealthy. Come and share your prosperity!” Or maybe, “Come unto me all you who are wise. Let’s dialogue and philosophize and interact intellectually.”
But the personal invitation Jesus extended to people individually as the nation rebelled against Him corporately was: “Anyone who is weary, come to Me. Those are My people—the weary ones.”
Come unto me…
Jesus didn’t say, “Run to Me”. So often in my weariness, I can’t run. I can only stumble or crawl before Him. But that’s okay – he just said “Come” any way we can.
He didn’t say, “Go to church”. He didn’t say, “Listen to a sermon”. Nor did He say, “Get some counseling” or “Read a book”. He said,“Come to Me”.
Come unto me, all ye that labour…
What causes us to be weary in our labor? I believe the answer is found in Exodus 5.
The people of Israel were in Egypt. 400 years previously, they left the Land of Promise due to famine and headed south to Egypt where there was plenty to eat. For a while, they enjoyed abundance and prosperity. But suddenly the situation changed when a new Pharaoh came on the scene, looked at the Jewish people, and said, “We’ve got to enslave these people”. So for hundreds of years, the people of God were enslaved by the Egyptians, baking bricks in the blistering, burning sun for the construction of Pharaoh’s monuments. It has been documented that the Israelites baked enough bricks to build a wall ten feet high and five feet thick from LA to New York City.
When Moses said, “Let my people go,” Pharaoh answered,
“Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard vain words.” -Exodus 5:7-9
The Hebrew word translated “labour” in verse 9 has the same meaning as the Greek word translated “labour” Jesus used in Matthew 11. Do you sometimes feel like you’re stuck in Egypt, endlessly making bricks for Pharaoh under the blistering sun? Maybe you’ve said, “I’m going to Egypt. I’m going to labor to get ahead in my career,” or, “I’m going to work hard for this material thing”. And for a while, it seemed enjoyable. But then, just like Pharaoh, it turned against you, and the very thing you thought would be wonderful is now a taskmaster—cracking the whip and enslaving you.
“Come to Me,” the Lord says. “All you who are weary from labor, all you who have realized Pharaoh is a fake and Egypt is a rip off, come to Me.”
We have a tendency to think, “I’m going to be so happy when I accomplish this task, when I reach that goal, when I get this business or that toy.”
And we labor and labor until we finally say, “This isn’t working out the way I thought it could, the way the commercials promised it would. I’m miserable. I’m tired. I am weary.”
Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden…
What does it mean to be heavy laden?
In Isaiah 1:4-6, the Lord says to His people, Israel, “You’re beat up and bruised and hurting and desolate and destroyed because you have been laden, loaded with iniquity”. You see, Pharaoh makes us labor, but sin makes us heavy laden. Sin weighs us down.
David went through a season of sin on more than one occasion. During one such time, he wrote,
“There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.” -Psalm 38:3-8
Sin will make you tired. What does Jesus say? He says, “Whether you’ve been seduced and sucked in by Pharaoh’s mentality—working for the world and finding it to be nothing but bricks and weariness—or whether you’ve been heavy laden with iniquity, come unto Me.”
Yearning for More?
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to include the entire topical study “A Word to the Weary”. We hope you are encouraged by the above excerpt, but if you would like to keep reading, you can find Courson’s Application Commentary.
Courson’s Application Commentary (3 Vols.)
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