One of my earliest mission experiences involved service in the country of Ethiopia. I served with a team that provided food for those affected by famine. It was demanding work, both physically and emotionally.
One day an event occurred that picked up my spirits. In the midst of the daily demands of famine relief, a letter came. The ambassador of my home country was inviting me to a party. It was exciting to receive an invitation from someone in such a lofty position.
What struck me as significant that day was the contrast between where I was living and where I had been invited to go. The living conditions at my place of service included sleeping on a simple cot in a grass-roofed hut. My clothes were soiled with African dirt. My body had been assaulted by malaria and tropical parasites. Yet despite these conditions I was invited to a party at the posh residence of our country’s most senior official. The thought of it all lifted my spirit. Invitations can do that.
As you read the first section of this devotional, the condition of your soul may resemble my physical condition in the Ethiopian bush. Perhaps your soul is soiled, exhausted, and ravaged by the testing of life. I want you to know that the most senior official of the universe has sent you invitations that can lift your soul. These invitations are recorded in scripture. Some of them are obvious, some are more subtle, but they are there. I offer a few of them to remind you that you have been invited to encounter the great refresher of the soul, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Accept the Invitation
“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,”
It is wonderful to receive an invitation. An invitation means that we are considered special in some way by the person who invites us. It means that the person inviting us has a blessing to give. Jesus has a blessing in mind for you: the blessing of rest. He offers a heart that is freed from the anxieties of life, the pressure to perform, the fears that haunt us, the burdens that weigh us down and steal our joy.
What do you do with your tired soul? Where do you run to find rest? Or should I say, where do you stagger and stumble to find refreshment? Sometimes the legs of our souls can hardly carry us to the oasis that we seek. Elijah, exhausted from his fight for righteousness and fear for his life, fell in the wilderness, too exhausted to go on. He wished his life were over.
All around you are tired souls. You can see it in their eyes, the weariness, the lost hope, the absence of purpose, and sapped energy. Some have become wearied by doing right in the face of evil. We all have been burdened by our sin and need it lifted from us. The sins others have committed against us weigh us down. Some have become weary because of the relentless demands of life. Others are exhausted from unrealistic expectations that spring up from within themselves or from others. Still others are weary because they are working so hard to do God’s work for him. That work may be building their personal holiness, or it may be building his church. Both are exhausting if attempted with one’s own resources. Let me ask, are you weary? If so, why?
Whatever the cause of your weariness, I want you to know that you have mail. An invitation from Jesus awaits. It is an invitation to a rested heart. Reach out and take it. Your life will never be the same. No one encounters Jesus and remains the same.
Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, thank you for inviting me to the place of rest.
About the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.” Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
This excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book “Refresh“. Lyndon wrote “Refresh“ specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.