Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest Matthew 11:28
Whenever I am stressed out, over burdened or feel the weight of much worry on my shoulders, Matthew 11:28 is my "go to verse."Matthew's great commission in Matthew 28 will indicate that such teachings as this are intended to go to all nations, the Greek word is ethnoi meaning all ethnic peoples. I first put this text into practice when I graduated from Ferris State (in Michigan!) and took an interview at a publishing house after receiving a Printing Management BS degree.
The book publisher took me onto the tour and introduced me to all the fine folks who worked there. I was often told, "We are a close-knit family, who shares one another's burdens...not just another place to work here." I was invited to talk with all of the nicer, chattier workers. I was given a great cup of flavored coffee. As a recent college graduate, I was all ready to "join their family" in the book publishing industry! Then they had some lady psychologist administer these psychological tests. She told me, she was my "friend and also part of the family here at the publishing house." Had I found that "home away from home or family I have so always craved?"
About two weeks later I got a rejection letter and was invited to call back if I had any questions. Evidently, the psychologist lady told me I am a "Type B Introvert" whereas they are looking for a "Type A Extrovert" for this job. I asked her to explain. She told me that for instance my tests indicate that when I relax, I prefer to "read a book" (Well, Duh...I got a degree in Printing!). The proper answer was to go play golf or a game of racquetball. I took this quite personally!
Broken from my rejection, I felt like a failure. So I returned to the basic local church Bible study they had for single Christians like me. Here I was read the Matthew 11:28 text. Also, they used William Barclay's New Testament Commentaries to elaborate on the text. Long story-short, I eventually went to Lutheran Seminary and became a Pastor. However, I always crave that feeling of being a member "one of the family who shares our burdens."
Small town and rural ministry have had this appeal for me. Sure, there are problems and concerns in small towns. None are perfect. And yes, I am just as guilty as the next person of running to Lima or Findlay if I cannot find a given item in our town of Ada, Ohio. However, in Matthew's gospel, Jesus reminds us that no matter how difficult or complicated our lives get, we are invited to "come to me all who are weary..." This text continues to be a form of "gospel or good news" to me, even 37 years later! It is my prayer and hope that all of our Ada area churches are seeking ways to welcome those people who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens" Amen.