Obligation or Invitation

“Information helps us to know about God, but Sabbath allows us to encounter Him.” – Shelly Miller, Rhythms of Rest


Rest or activity can come from one of two places: Obligation or Invitation. “I have to do this…” “I can’t do that…” In Matthew 11:25-30, Jesus makes clear that His hope for us is to shift our lives to rest and work that are an invitation. “Come unto me…” those are words of invitation. And how do we begin on this pathway of rest? Where is the off ramp from the exhausting pace of obligation based activity? The quote above from Shelly Miller in her great book, Rhythms of Rest is powerfully helpful. Much of the tiredness that wearies the soul comes from knowing about God without encountering Him. The invitation of Jesus though, the opportunity of Sabbath is to encounter. To know in personal experience the God who has given us an everyday, all the time Sabbath in Jesus. When was the last time you approached your day with an invitation mindset? That you got to do… or you didn’t have to…

For your reflection, and in hopes of opening a small window of Sabbath in your day, let me share with you the paraphrase of Eugene Peterson, The Message translation of Matthew 11:25-30 (emphasis mine):


Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”

Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”


How will you respond to Jesus’ invitation?

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