How often do we feel like life is spinning in a never ending circle of unmet expectations, unrealized goals and unachieved successes? At times it feels the harder we work the further we fall behind and the more we desire to achieve the more we find ourselves in want. We could strike this up to an ever changing world or even the realities of a busy life. The is so much to do and never enough time to do it in. But what if part of our problem is our priorities? What if part of our problem is our expectations? Or even what we define success by?
I don’t mean to over simplify the realities of the day to day grind we navigate every day, but is it possible that some of our burden is the result of not stopping and asking these questions? Who has taught us what it means to be successful? To be a good spouse? A good parent? Where have our judgments and standards come from? Is it possible that we have allowed the world to play the role of teacher, of rabbi, a role that should be occupied by Jesus? “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.” (Matthew 23:8-10). Is Jesus, the Christ, our teacher or is the world our teacher? Tradition our teacher? Habit our teacher? Now I don’t mean to suggest that no one but Jesus can occupy any role of teacher, for not even Jesus suggested such a thought, but rather the idea of the central Teacher of our lives being Jesus or the world.
Jesus shares some important and powerful thoughts regarding our life, teaching and the concept of rest. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). There is some heavy theological and practical truth in this passage, but to keep our thoughts direct notice that Jesus associates his teaching with rest. He says to “take my yoke,” which is His teaching, and “learn from me” twice saying it will bring us rest. If in fact we are sitting at the master teacher’s feet, should there not be found rest for our souls? Could it be we have not allowed ourselves to be taught by the master in the most important areas of life, that we continue to live after the world and trade rest for chaos.
Here is the challenge, if you and I are willing to accept it, to give ourselves over to the teaching of Jesus. To sit at his feet and truly learn from Him. To accept his judgment of what is good and what success and even successful relationships should look like. We might fine more rest if we stop looking to the teaching of the world and focus more on the teaching of God. I would hope that this might bring is a greater share of rest for our souls.