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Sunday, March 18, 2012

R.S.V.P. required!

There are many forms of invitations - both spoken and written.  There are even "unspoken" invitations - simply expressed by a simple gesture, a simple look, or a nod of the head.  My daughter usually plans for the annual birthday bash for my grandson about six or eight months in advance of his birthday!  She picks a theme, begins to pick up things throughout the year, all the while working out a "theme" for the party.  She is much more creative than I am - making absolutely beautiful decorations, cleverly displayed snack items, and treasures for each child in attendance.  It amazes me.  One of the "tasks" is the custom invitations she prepares.  Yep, you read it right - custom!  She designs, prints, cuts, scraps, and the like - until she has the "look" she wants which matches the theme of the party.  There is a very important invitation we each receive - customized especially for us, as well.

28-30 "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."  (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message)

Tired?  Worn out?  Burned out?  Sound like any of us?  My work weeks have been long, the tasks mounting as members of the team are transitioned to new roles outside of the department, leaving fewer of us to do the work.  My home life is simple compared to some, but even the task of cooking dinner after a long work day can seem like a chore on occasion.  There are days I just plain don't feel like doing another thing!  

The invitation set before us today is directly from Christ - customized for all who will hear and respond.  I don't know about you, but I think almost all of us could "cop" to the plea of being tired or worn out on occasion - some of us almost to a point of perpetual tiredness.  It may be related to our tendency to take on more than we should, never really being conscious of just how much the "busy-ness" of our days are mounting.  Being over-extended leads to us being tired and worn out quicker than any other factor!

The invitation is also to those "burned out" on religion.  This seems odd, right?  Why would somebody be "burned out" on religion?  Well, when Jesus gives this invitation, he is really calling to those who have tried all the "steps" of religious activity - going to church, being in the choir, volunteering to teach Sunday School, etc.  These "activities" don't fulfill the soul and spirit - HE does.  "Religion" is the attempt to "work our way" into God's good graces - an impossibility!  God's "good graces" are given freely and are available to all who will ask.  Plain and simple.

The invitation - get away with me!  Jesus is asking for "personal time".  I like to call this "me time".  The time we take to just "get together" with Jesus is the time he uses to help us recover from all life has beaten us down with!  He provides the "real rest" we are so desperately in need of.  Here, he teaches us by his example - balance is important.  

Look at the promise - I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you!  Awesome!  God cares so much about us he even wants to lift our burdens - those things we were never meant to carry alone anyway!  His goal is to "fit us well" with the things we need for life and health.  We will learn to live freely and lightly!  I think most of us need to learn to live a little freer and with a whole lot less weight on our shoulders!

So, here's your personal invitation today - personalized just for you!  You decide how you will respond - R.S.V.P. today!  You won't be sorry!