Every human relationship carries with it a certain set of expectations. That responsibility differs depending on the nature of the relationship. I have one set of responsibilities to those who hold authority over me, like my boss or my pastor. I have another set of responsibilities to my friends, to my neighbors, to those I mentor, to my spouse, and yet another to my children.
Needless to say, some of these relationships carry a weightier burden of responsibility than do others.
But who places the heaviest burden of expectation on you? For the Christian, the answer is easy, that would be God. Right? After all, He is our Creator and all that we have we owe to HIm.
Nevertheless, Jesus said that the burden of expectation He places on us is, comparatively speaking, light. This is really an astounding statement. How can our burden of responsibility to God be lighter than it is to others? Aren't we more accountable to Him than to anyone else? Absolutely! In a sense, every moral obligation we have to others goes back to God, Himself.
But the message of grace is that Jesus has taken all of the burdens of God's expectation from us and has placed them on Christ. So, according to Jesus, the lightest burden we will ever bear in any relationship will be with our Savior, who fulfilled all of our obligations. Who else in our life has ever released us like this?
Jesus has fulfilled all that God expected of us and has replaced those expectations with an unconditional love that has freed us to just love Him back. Truly, what was a burden has, in Christ, become a joy.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:29-30).
"One of the most universally recognized pieces of music of all times is Beethoven's 5th Symphony. You know the one: dun dun dun dunnnnn...dun dun dun dunnnnnn. You know the song, but what you may not know is that the song starts with an 8th note of rest. A song that begins with a rest! As strange as that is, it creates a uniquely powerful melody.
The strategic 8th note rest continues through the entire song."
A rest is a highly unusual way to begin a piece of music. But realize that the Christian life also begins with a rest. Before God can make a beautiful symphony of our lives, we must first find complete rest in His Son.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
Jon Hamilton, with NPR, reports:
When you sleep in unfamiliar surroundings, only half your brain is getting a good night's rest.
"The left side seems to be more awake than the right side," says Yuka Sasaki, an associate professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University.
The finding, reported Thursday in the journal Current Biology, helps explain why people tend to feel tired after sleeping in a new place.
... Sleep researchers discovered the "first-night effect" decades ago, when they began studying people in sleep labs. The first night in a lab, a person's sleep is usually so bad that researchers simply toss out any data they collect.
Vigilance is important but so is rest. We must not give up rest to be vigilant, but must learn, especially in threatening times, to pursue both. Even Jesus, at the height of his ministry, took the time to slip away to the mountains.
Not even the need to be vigilant overrides our need to find rest in God.
“So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall” (Hebrews 4:11).
"After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone" (Matthew 14:23).