My Corner Online


Reading through the Gospels #125



Matthew 11:28-30

(Created 5/25/2015; This is my graphic for the Digital Faithart Challenge with my Filter Challenge #36. After the filter was applied, I used the luminosity blending mode on the filtered image and lowered the opacity of the original image layer to re-color. Recoloring can be done with any combination of blending modes and opacity, so just play with it for your individual image until it works. I had trouble with the oxen theme feeling all farm and cowboy-ish to me and then making my layout feel "restful." Somehow it just does not go together.
Yet it does go together in God's Word, beautifully. It is sin that causes unrest in our soul. And Christ carried the burden of our sin on calvary. Past tense, not present tense. Done. Finished. Forgiven. A gift. To me. An invitation to be yoked to what has already been done for me. How can I resist? He "gives" (a gift) of rest for my soul. (hey, that's pretty cool what I just wrote! I should have that on the graphic! lol Cannot fit it all!)

I really enjoyed the well written devotion to go with this week's verse, but found myself fighting it while working on my own text for the layout. Let me explain. The Message version of Matthew 11:28-30 included the text "learn the unforced rhythms of grace." I loved this and how it makes me feel. The devotion is centered around this text, taking us through the rhythm of creation to work six days and rest one day, to the rhythm of oceans, and to life seasons and cycles. In our fast-paced lives, God has built in an intentional life rhythm for self-care. God intends for us to rest and wants us to intentionally strive for rest. When we run on empty, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, it causes other symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, anger, negativity, etc.
However, as I did my Bible study of these verses and wrote my thoughts, I kept coming back to the fact that these verses really have nothing to do with the physical body, but rather the soul, and rest for the soul. I kept fighting myself to edit my text to point to the soul, rather than the physical. The devotion made me think about the physical burdens and rest, which is what most people think of when they first read verse 28. But verse 28 cannot be taken out of context because in verse 29, we see it is "find rest for your souls."
And yet, while studying, my mind kept coming around full circle in that if I first find rest for my soul, the physical rest follows as a restful soul affects the body. Just think of how much better our whole body feels when we clear our conscience! Think of how much better our whole body feels when our soul has rest from despair and pessimism and mental burnout!
Of course, the circle goes the other way too in that when we are physically drained, we anger easily. When our back hurts, we get grumpy. The the circle goes in reverse when we find peace for our soul, our gumpy-self subsides. Can the circle only go one way?
The "learning" part of the scripture is also physical and present tense in that when we walk with Jesus, allowing Him to show us the way, He will teach us the easy life. The easy and light way of life is His way. When I do it my way, I put self-imposed burdens on myself that God never intended to be there. I'm the one who makes it hard on myself.
I continued to marvel as I tweaked my text changing a simple word such as "for" to "from" or a focus on me to a focus on God and switching the order of the lines around how the text finally came together. Sometimes I think I should record a video of me editing the text because it is fascinating to me how I arrive upon what I write.
Mostly, I found it interesting that when we first read this verse, we think about our physical and mental being, and our restful soul, but it really has nothing to do with that either. It has everything to do with God and what He has done for us on the cross. We don't see those exact words in the text, but it is there in the meaning. It is not about us at all. It never is about us. It is about Jesus and what He did for us.
Pastors have a gift of reiterating what scripture means in a different way. That's what makes them great Pastors, huh? I find that God has done this in his own Word. Isn't this verse just a new way to reiterate what He says to us in many other verses? Eventually, we'll all "get it.")


Copyright Cheryl Rutledge-Brennecke
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