When you think of rest, you may envision a quiet weekend in a quaint cabin in the woods, or perhaps a peaceful morning on the beach. Maybe you just imagine a morning when you get to ignore the alarm and sleep for an extra thirty minutes. The image we often have of rest is one of stillness and quiet, but what Jesus promises us goes beyond mere tranquility.
The rest Jesus offers isn’t a retreat, but a new way of living, drawn from an Old Testament concept called shalom. Shalom is more than rest; it is peace, wholeness, blessing, and connection to the Lord. This is only possible when we learn to rely on God rather than our own efforts, to cast our worries onto His back rather than piling them up on our own. This is the rest Jesus calls us to. And when we accept His invitation, we find His peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
Jesus tells His followers that His “yoke is easy and [His] burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). His “yoke” is a lifestyle, a commitment to walk in obedience to His teachings and in light of His example. Jesus taught the way of the kingdom, complete with the pace and priorities of heaven, and He modeled total dependence on God, the key to true shalom. When we follow His example, we learn we can take His peace with us wherever we go.