Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

       “HAND OVER YOUR BURDENS” –MATTHEW 11 :28-29.

            An elderly lady was walking down a country lane struggling to carry a heavy case. A man came along on a cart and offered her a lift. pastorh2So she gratefully climbed up on the cart and sat beside the driver but still holding the suitcase on her lap. The man said, “Why don’t you put the heavy case at the back of the cart”? The lady answered, “O NO! The poor donkey would never be able to pull all that weight. I’ll carry it myself.”     That’s silly isn’t it?  And yet so many people are like that elderly lady. They continue to carry their burdens –even when they have the chance to off load them. As a result life becomes a burden for us. We find life has become a chore. It becomes weary-tiresome.

            But it doesn’t need to be that way. There is good news for all those people who are feeling the weight of your burdens. It’s the Good News from Jesus, who says,

COME TO ME ALL YOU WHO ARE WEARY AND BURDENED AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST”. 

Now if that is true it means that you don’t have to carry your burdens alone-whatever they are. The burdens may be:

+an illness—+ a physical handicap—- a difficult work situation. It may be a loss you have suffered and never recovered from. It may be a relationship difficulty.

It may be a sense of guilt from some past action. It may be a failure in the present. It may be anxiety for the future.  It may be anything that weighs you down and makes life a hassle. Burdens come in many shapes-sizes-forms-weights.

But whatever it is you don’t need to carry it alone. Listen again to the comforting words of Jesus.” Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”.

            What a tremendous promise that is. What comforting assurance to know that you are not alone in your struggles of life. Jesus will be with you. That’s his promise.  And Jesus always stands by his promise. He has the power of Almighty God that enables him to keep his promise.

            Now I don’t know what burdens you are carrying right now. But many people are weighed down with the burden of guilt. And what terrible burden guilt can be.

Now guilt can come from many different situations. You where you have done something you shouldn’t have.

            But whatever the cause of guilt, the result is that it always spoils our relationships. It spoils our relationship with God-remember Adam and Eve hiding from God in the Garden of Eden. It also spoils our relationship with others. Guilt is like an invisible barrier which comes between us and others. It separates us from them. And as long as the barrier of guilt remains, our relationship with God and others won’t improve. It will continue to deteriorate until the issue is dealt with.

            Perhaps you have experienced a relationship that has been spoilt by guilt. Maybe you are experiencing one right now. If you are let me reassure you that it need not be that way because of Jesus’ promise. His promise is:

            “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened-burdened down with guilt and I will give you rest.” Yes! rest. Yes! Restored relationships. No matter how great the guilt is that you have experienced- Jesus can take it away-completely. That is what he does with his forgiveness. That is why he went to the cross for. Jesus died on the cross to restore relationships-with God and with others. That is what Jesus does best.  

             There is another burden that affects many people. It is the burden of anxiety.  And that too can be a terrible burden. In some cases it can be described as a crippling burden. Anxiety can affect people with a dreadful apprehension- a generalised feeling of fear. People can be anxious about a whole range of things. It may be:

+fear of Failure-     +Illness      + Disaster      +Disgrace      + fear of aging- loss of youthful capabilities.  +Fear of the process of dying   +fear of Death itself. This is particularly the case for people who don’t believe in eternal life. They fear that death is the end of everything.

In short people can be anxious about practically every area of life.

            Yes! Anxiety is a terrible burden-and it is very wide spread in our society. Hugh Mackay- a psychologist and researcher on society has described the widespread feeling of anxiety among people today. In fact he has referred to our current times as the “Age of Anxiety”.

            But anxiety is not just a modern phenomenon. It was an issue at the time of Jesus. In fact anxiety was so widespread in Jesus’ time that he spoke very specifically about it.

            “Therefore do not be anxious about your life-what you shall eat or what you shall drink nor about your body-what you shall wear….Do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself”. (Matthew 6:31-33).

            So what is the answer to the burden of anxiety? Listen to what Jesus says,

COME TO ME ALL YOU WHO ARE WEARY AND BUDENED AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST”.

            So bring your burdens-your anxieties to Jesus. Bring your fears-worries to him. Go to him and he will give you strength to bear your burdens.

            I guess there are many more different kinds of burdens we could talk about. But really the way to deal with them-whatever kind they are-is the same as the burdens of guilt-anxiety we have already talked about. We-You and I-need to take those burdens to the Lord. We need to give them to the Lord-and not keep on holding on to them-like the old lady in the story. Only when we give them to the Lord and relinquish our grip on them will we receive rest.

            Remember the story I about the elderly lady with the heavy suit case? Let’s apply that story to ourselves. The elderly lady represents you and me. What does the heavy suit case represent? It represents your own personal burdens-whatever they might be.  And here you are walking along life’s road struggling with your burden. Along the road comes a man on a cart pulled by a donkey. But this is not just any man. This is Jesus. He stops and speaks to you. He says with a kind look on his face and with compassion in his voice, “Come to me you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”.

            “Hop up on the cart next to me and place your burden in the back. And we will journey through this life together on the way to eternal life where there will be no more burdens-tears-pains-no more crying. For all these things will be gone”.

  What a wonderful picture that is. And you know it could be true for you.   

            Why don’t you try it? You have nothing to loose except your burdens.

            And think about this. Who was really carrying the burdens in the story?  It was the donkey. There is no need for you to be a donkey. Amen.
Pastor Haydn Blaess.

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