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Hey, let's get this right, shall we?

Someone once told me I needed to learn how to flirt. I kid you not! It wasn't even a man - it was a girlfriend that said I had no clue how to 'drop the hint' that I was interested in a guy. Well, as time has passed, I probably still don't have a clue, but it doesn't matter to me because I am not really looking for a guy! There are many forms of invitations - spoken, unspoken, and written. The "unspoken" invitations are those that are simply expressed by a simple gesture, a simple look, or a nod of the head. We all might receive spoken invitations - to go to dinner with a friend, drop by a relative's house, or even hit up the grand opening of a new eatery in town. We might receive written, more formalized invitations - like those inviting us to attend a wedding, baptism, or other special event. There is one very important invitation we each receive - customized especially for us - one that we just don't want to ignore.

"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)

Tired? Worn out? Burned out? Sound like any of us? Work weeks can get pretty long, the tasks mounting as COVID-19 takes a toll on both our workforce and our facility capacity. Home life is simple compared to some, but even the task of cooking dinner after a long work day can seem like a chore a lot of the time - especially now that I am only cooking for one. I am working on getting a side-business going to have something small to keep me busy into retirement, but I am still working full-time right now, so this adds up, too. There are days I just plain don't feel like doing another thing at the end of my day! Yes, I get tired - even worn out, but I would have to say I am not to the stage of being burned out yet.

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-stuff" of our days can mount up over time. 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. Why would somebody be "burned out" on religion? When Jesus gives this invitation, he is really calling to those of us who have tried all the "steps" of religious activity - going to church, being in the choir, volunteering to teach Sunday School, attending small groups, and even leading them. These "activities" don't fulfill the soul and spirit - only HE does. "Religion" is the attempt to "work our way" into God's good graces - something you will ultimately find to be 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 - even when we have managed to over-extend ourselves to the point of not being able to rest well! He provides the "real rest" we are so desperately in need of. He teaches us by his example - balance is important. Look at the promise - I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you! God cares so much about us he even wants to lift and carry 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 from him how we can 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 - just remember you are ALL invited! Just sayin!

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