July 3, 2011
Romans 7:15-25a Matthew 11:25-30 ³Rest for Our Souls´Dr. Ted H. SandbergDr. Al Jenkins, former Dean of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of my professors for my D.Min. program, once went with his wife on a religious back packing camp in the mountains of Colorado. Each day the hikers were to pack 4 or 5 miles, set up camp, and then explore a religiousissue that Dr. Jenkins would present to the group, a group made up of individuals high school age andolder.For some reason, the person who had planned where the group was to camp each night at the lastminute couldn¶t go on the trip. Rather than cancel the experience, a couple of the more athleticmembers of the group took responsibility for leading the hiking part of the camp.Unfortunately, the leaders missed the intended first night¶s camp site. By the time the error wasrecognized, they were more than half way to the next night¶s camp. Because hikers can¶t just campanywhere, the group decided to go on to the second night¶s site, which made for a walk and climb of some 10 or 11 miles, much too far for a comfortable hike for most of the members of the group,especially when led by leaders who were in good shape.Dr. Jenkin¶s wife got particularly tired with about 4 miles to go to the campsite. She sat down andsaid in effect that she just didn¶t think she could go any further. At that point, an 18 year old youngwoman hoisted Mrs. Jenkin¶s pack off the ground, swung it on top of her own heavy pack, andmarched off for the camp site 4 miles away. Because the young woman was able to carry Mrs.Jenkin¶s burden, a difficult situation turned into an experience which brought the whole group closer together. Now be honest. When you hear the words of Jesus, ³Come to me, all you that are weary and arecarrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,´ don¶t you long for Jesus to do for you what theyoung lady did for Mrs. Jenkins? Don¶t you want Jesus to take all your burdens from you and hoistthem onto his own back so that you won¶t have
to carry? Isn¶t that how most of usunderstand this passage, or want it to be understand?We want to understand it this way because for many, life is always a trial, and for all of us, life issometimes filled with hardship. We
carry heavy burdens. Many people today have too muchwork. Some women work an 8-hour job, raise 2 or 3 children, volunteer at school and church, keep animmaculate house, and then wonder why they¶re tired. Some men consistently work 16 hour days.The goal for the lawyer in the book The Firm was to bill 90 hours of work a week until he was 40 atwhich point he¶d retire a millionaire. That¶s a heavy burden to carry physically and emotionally.Even if we¶re not overworking ourselves, many of us are overly worried. When I was in grade school,I remember worrying about a paper I¶d somehow lost. I almost made myself sick worrying about it. Now that seems small and insignificant. Now I¶ve got bigger worries like what¶s going to happen toour economy? What¶s going to happen to the mainline denominations, and in particularly, the ABC?How are we as a church going to meet the needs of this community? How are we going to replacethose who¶ve died and moved away when we¶re all getting older?Many of you have similar worries. Are they going to change Medicare? Will we have enough moneyto live well through our retirement? What¶s going to happen with my children and grandchildren?