I remember being home for Christmas with my family just before my 25th birthday. I had graduated from the university I attended and spent the following two years on the mission field.
A friend and I traveled throughout Africa and Europe. We joked that we shared everything but girlfriends and underwear.
And at almost 25, I was still single and could tell my Mom was a little concerned. She quickly told me that I had gotten my bachelor’s degree, but it was time to quit being a bachelor (I wonder what she really thought?).
She then set up a New Year’s Eve date for me with an old high school girlfriend.
Although it wasn’t the right girl, my mother knew it was the right season to be thinking about marriage, and my heart knew it, too.
But I had to trust God to work it out.
And He did. When I brought Tamara home to meet my mom she was thrilled. Her advice? “Marry her quick, Jimmy!” And I listened. By the next Christmas, we were married and off to our honeymoon.
I learned then that recognizing seasons in life is important.
Many in the church today know it’s an important time for the Body of Christ, for our nation, for our families — much like I did at 25. However, recognizing the season and responding well to the season are quite different. In Matthew 11, Jesus teaches us the pathway to follow well amidst pivotal seasons, when answers aren’t always clear.
He says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
“Come to me” in Greek is a phrase that means, “Come here!” It’s stated with great exclamation as an invitation we should be excited about.
Then, Jesus says get yoked up with me and learn. Before this particular verse, Jesus had rebuked people who saw the Holy Spirit working powerfully but would still not follow God wholeheartedly. They knew they were in the middle of something special but weren’t sure what to do (Much like me when it was time to be married!).
Jesus called them to repentance which simply means to change your mind so you can change your behavior.
God’s response to the people then, is the same to us now. When we’re weary and our way is not working, he invites us to come. When we feel pressured by what’s going on around us and are not sure what to do, he invites us to come.
And not just to come but to learn from him. We all have natural ways of thinking about life — our relationships, careers, finances, future. But his ways are different. They’re higher and better than ours. And he makes those ways known to us through the Bible.
As we follow him well in each season, we learn to enjoy both the rest and the rewards he brings.