Growing up in church, and during the 43 years of the Lord’s ministry through me, I have heard people say in varieties of ways, “When you go to church, be sure not to take your burdens with you.” The only problem was those same individuals continued to display burdened countenances. This is an inexcusable mindset, and is emphatically over-ridden by the words of the Lord, who said, “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
It is certain that the Lord may grant relief and resolution from burdens and their heavy consequences at any time during the day or week. However, no one should ever rule out the extreme spiritual value of unloading our downers during a time of corporate worship.
When Jesus said to “Come unto me,” do you not rather conclude that going to church for heartfelt worship is an act of “coming to the Lord” by way of His extended invitation? There is every thing right and nothing wrong that we take the Lord’s invitation to heart and take our burdens when we go to church. For, it is during worship that any part of the worship experience might result in a spiritual victory for us.
We do not have to live continually burdened. As a matter of fact, we are far better disciples when we are less burdened. It makes for common sense that a person who is healed from a broken arm is a far better worker without such a debilitation. A person who gets relief from a migraine headache is a more cheerful person without such a distraction. It therefore becomes a logical understanding that a Christian unburdened is a far better witness and servant for the Lord. Consider the effective witness for God is the people of the church exhibited less personal burden.
Note that the Lord said to come to Him with those things that cause us “labor.” This term has meaningful implications in that, first, we may bring to Him that which causes us weariness. Do we not reference being “tired” of our heartaches? Continual burdens burn out the soul and wear down the emotion.
Second, we may bring to Him anything that causes unnecessary trouble. The picture behind this consideration signifies “to drive with the cold of a winter storm.” Picture a person walking aimlessly and uselessly through the elements of a fierce storm. It stirs a laborious effort.
Furthermore, “labor” includes anything that causes you embarrassment. It is true that many burdens carried by people incur personal embarrassment.
Now, regard closely the Lord’s consolation. He says, “And I will give you rest.” The term “rest” has to be one of my most favorite considerations for discipleship found in God’s Word. For, the consolation of the Lord’s rest involves harmony with God. How much sweeter our daily lives become when we are in harmony with our Lord.
The Lord’s consolation of rest is also divine permission to be free from those things which cause us to labor and to be heavy laden. Yes! You and I have permission from the Lord to be unburdened! It is a false glory to purposely remain under the shadow of a constant dark cloud of misery when the Lord has other plans for us.
As a matter of fact, the Lord’s consolation of rest confers communion with Him, which has in mind “the spreading of a tabernacle over.” As we unload on the Lord, we may live daily under the sunshine brightness, loving protection, and strong under-girding of God.
I choose the Lord’s rest rather than any labor I may encounter. And, you?
Here is the rub: if you take your burdens to church, be careful not to take them back home with you. The Lord wants us to be victorious people, not defeated people. He does not want us to be disciples constantly brooding over burdens. He does not want us to be disciples that hold onto burdens as a self-centered red badge of courage.
Take your burdens to church if you have to. It makes for a good place to unload.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.