Soul Rest

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Matthew 11:25-30

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (v. 28)

In a 2003 article titled, “Bring Back the Sabbath,” New York Times columnist Judith Shulevitz chronicles her return to the practices of Sabbath worship she knew in childhood. Shulevitz observes, “On that weekly holiday . . . not only did drudgery give way to festivity, family gatherings and occasionally worship, but the machinery of self-censorship shut down, too, stilling the eternal inner murmur of self-reproach.”

We are busy, burdened people. We have exams, board meetings, reports, dirty laundry and dirty diapers, unreasonable family members and unreasonable clients. We have loads of stuff to do. But it is not the tasks themselves that burden us. It is the “eternal inner murmur of self-reproach.” It is the voice whispering repeatedly, “You are not good enough.” That voice insinuated itself into our hearts when we fell into sin. We mistake it for the voice of God; in fact, it is the voice of his adversary. When we fell into sin, God did not say, “You are not good enough.” He said, “Where are you?” God went so far in his pursuit of us that he took on flesh to become one of us. In the flesh he said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

Today, tune out the eternal murmur of self-reproach. Receive rest in your work as your Redeemer receives you. —Ben Van Arragon

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you set me free from the powers of sin and death and hell. Give me your soul rest.