By Ralph & Elizabeth Pyszkowski
Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 through much conflict during the Industrial Revolution. The average American was working 12 hours a day and 7 days a week. Many also worked in unsafe work environments with few rights and low pay. Through organized protest and labor unions, hardworking men and women finally received the recognition they deserved. Although it took employers a long time to treat laborers right, God had declared a Sabbath day of rest from the beginning. He offers the best benefits, greatest satisfaction, and a retirement plan of pure Heaven for those who serve him. Rest that refreshes the soul is also a blessing that comes from above.
Jesus offers an invitation for all in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Physical, emotional, and spiritual rest are all needful and Christ can help us achieve them. This scripture primarily refers to the spiritual void that leaves the heart desolate and soul troubled. Many are searching for happiness and will desperately try all the world has to offer. Sin only separates us from God’s presence and deepens the spiritual void. Its stronghold enslaves people and oppresses them with a heavy burden of shame. Only a saving relationship with Jesus will truly bring rest and refreshing to the soul. By the cross, he breaks the power of sin and his presence fills the empty heart.
Anyone can receive this gift and accept the invitation of rest from Matthew. Trusting Christ and spending time in prayer is the first step. He also says to take his yoke upon us. That means to obey his word and follow his plan. Gods peace will not rule our hearts if we do not first allow him to rule our lives. Many times it is when we stray from his paths that we experience the most turmoil. Trusting Jesus also means believing that he knows best and we are willing to change course if necessary. It is then that we can have peace through the numerous storms of life. As we follow the Great Sheppard, he will lead us beside the still waters and make us lie down in green pastures. It is time we give our burdens to the Lord and receive the satisfying rest that only he offers.
(Ralph & Elizabeth Pyszkowski, Your Brother & Sister In Christ. All comments are welcomed at [email protected])