A shrewd person once withdrew a large sum of cash from his bank and carried it in a dirty old bag in a crowded train. While everyone else placed their luggage on the shelf above, this person was standing amidst the crowd, tightly holding his bag with one hand and holding the roof mounted handrail with the other. He was determined to not place his luggage in the shelf at any cost and firmly denied the offer to hold his bag on the laps of his co-passengers who were seated.
In the above incident, if we replace the bank customer with a thief who had robbed a store and was holding it in a covered bag, then that loot means a lot to him. It was his future in the bag, his shame if exposed or the source for his livelihood if he escaped with the loot. Knowingly or unknowingly, we too have all these sentiments attached to our loads of burden and are holding on to it for dear life.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.Hebrews 12:1
Laying down our burden is optional and it depends on its importance to us.
A Gentle Call
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus is calling us not to impart theoretical knowledge but to inculcate His humble heart in us, so that we may find rest. In response to His call, people are coming to Jesus to share in His yoke, softened by His bruised shoulder and to bear the new featherweight burden.
Gaining theoretical knowledge is optional but a personal encounter with Jesus is mandatory for everyone. When we develop our theoretical knowledge with a personal encounter with Jesus, it will give us optimum results in the growth of our spiritual life.
Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you He will never let the righteous be shaken.Psalms 55:22
We may be familiar with the above verse telling us to lay down our burdens on Jesus and we have been left to do so in our own ways. For many people, laying down their burden is like depositing our belongings in the cloak room of a station and later retrieving it before continuing our journey.
We carry our luggage from our homes to cab and from the cab to a trolley in the airport and after that, a conveyor belt takes care of it and we travel without any extra load. In a construction site, we can see the giant sized cranes and hoists, substituting a huge quantum of manpower in carrying tons of loads. In a massive building, load bearing walls play a vital role in carrying the whole weight of the structure to a foundation laid below the building.
Our minds are tuned to the mechanism based on physics, and thus are unable to accept our Saviour’s grace, an outcome of not some formula but God’s incredible love. We want to carry our luggage along through easy means or want to derive the benefits of sinful acts through outsourcing. The option of completely disposing off our burdens by throwing it away is chosen only by a few people.
While the first and second options keep the burden alongside us, the third option is conducting our loads of burden to the foundation. Jesus is the one who throws our loads of burden into the depths of the ocean and conducts our mortal bodies to God’s solid foundation and transforms it to the immortal celestial beings.
Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”2 Timothy 2:19
A cornerstone or a foundation stone is a piece of granite that describes the importance of the building and is inscribed with the date of inauguration and the name of the person who inaugurated that building.
Jesus, our cornerstone, has a different inscription on it. First thing is, He tells us that He identifies His children and no one can cheat Him. He knows the date on which we have been born again. The second important thing is an instruction that everyone who confesses in the name of Jesus, must turn away from their wickedness (Proverbs 8:13).
Burden on account of Sin
The burden Bible talks about is a burden accumulated in our hearts, minds and souls as a result of the sins we committed. Laying down this burden is totally different from laying down our heavy load of physical luggage. Our loads of burden have a connection to the sins we committed and because of this, we have to first deal with our sins to lay our load of burden down.
The more we concentrate on our burdens, the heavier it will become. To lay our burden down, we must shift our focus from our burden, to the burden bore by Jesus on the cross. If our own sin is heavier, how much more will it be for Jesus, who bore the sins of the entire mankind. When we realize the quantum of burden placed on Jesus, then our burden will become lighter.
We should also realize the burden of Jesus, who is unceasingly pleading to His Father to save the perishing souls. He prays to His father to pardon the sins of mankind because of the blood He shed on the cross as an atonement for sin.
Shifting Our Burdens
Even when we have every kind of blessings, we are sad because we desire more and more worldly blessings and there is no end to our wants. Despite all blessings, our hearts should cry for the perishing soul along with our Master. This exercise will help us to rely completely on His righteousness rather than depending on our righteousness.
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. With the invention of modern apparatus and electronic gadgets, life has become very comfortable and we have plenty of leisure time. If we make use of the leisure time to think about the incredible love of God, who even gave His only beloved Son to redeem us, our hearts will start singing praises to Him. God himself will clothe us with a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
….. a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.Isaiah 61:3
To continue with this experience, we must indulge ourselves in the works related to His Kingdom in some capacity. The world may deceive us by saying that indulging ourselves in the work related to God’s Kingdom may invite attacks from satan. Jesus will give us a clear mind to discern the deceptive threats of the world and He will help us to soar on and on by shedding off unwanted burdens. The author of the book of Hebrews put this process in the following verses.
…… And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.Hebrews 12:1-3
The author mentions that Jesus endured every opposition to prevent us from growing weary and losing heart. When we understand that Jesus had endured everything to give us rest, enduring the problems of our lives will become easier and our burdens will be laid down automatically. Foreseeing the crown waiting for us, may relieve us from the burden of this world.
Jesus gives us rest to rejoice in Him and praise His Father’s name with all our heart, soul and mind. In other words, we must wear this garment of praise all the time to lay our burdens down.
Paul and Silas put on this garment and praised God when they were chained in a prison. They had no regrets or fear, but their hearts were full of joy in fulfilling the purpose of their life on this earth. If we do not wear this garment, we will be disqualified to accomplish His purpose and we will be thrown out of His Kingdom.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’Matthew 22:11-13
Praising the Alpha and Omega all the time, will make a drastic change in our attitude, aptitude and altitude. When we wear a wedding garment, we have a decent attitude and would not be sitting in unworthy places (Psalms 1:1-2). Wearing a wedding garment denotes praising God and this will give an aptitude to stay away from evil (Proverbs 8:13). With these initiatives, we will always be looking for higher altitudes.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.Colossians 3:1