Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
When my wife, Sara, and I have gone to New York City, we have often traveled by train. Amtrak takes us right to Penn Station in the heart of Manhattan.
Taking the train, it is necessary to travel light. First of all, we are only allowed one suitcase and one carry-on per person. Secondly, when we get there, we have to catch a taxi to our daughter’s workplace or to her apartment. As you can imagine, it is no fun to drag a bunch of luggage around.
Job 14:1 says, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.” By nature, life itself has a certain amount of weight we all must carry. However, the truth is that we make it so much heavier because we fail to accept Jesus’ invitation to come to Him. You see, He wants us to travel light. God’s Word teaches us how to travel light- less baggage and more freedom.
First of all, we must learn to lay aside anything that weighs us down. In other words, refuse to carry unnecessary weight. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” We would not run a physical race with weights attached to us. Likewise, we cannot run a spiritual race while weighted down either.
Sin is heavy enough. Guilt and condemnation are companion weights that are attached to sin. When God forgives our sins, the weight of sin, guilt and condemnation must fall off of us. Then God helps us live righteous lives when we determine to live above the sins of this world. I Peter 2:11 speaks plainly of our responsibility concerning this: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” What about other weights that we can cast off?
Unbelief is certainly a weight we must deal with. Matthew 13 gives an account of the unbelief that was rampant in Jesus’ home territory. It was so bad that He was unable to do many mighty works because they would not believe. Our Lord wants us to believe Him for big things; our Lord wants us to pray for big things. Exercising our faith takes away the weight of unbelief and causes us to see the great things He can do in our lives.
Fear is another weight we are not expected to carry. When we truly belong to God, we are secure now and throughout eternity. The following Scripture is very familiar, but it bears repeating:
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7).
Secondly, we must learn that we do not have to understand everything. Have you ever been guilty of overthinking? I certainly have. Overthinking serves to crowd our minds and pull us away from our dependence on God. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” There is freedom in knowing that He knows the way when we are not sure where to go or what to do.
Finally, we have to learn to take the time to pray. When we pray, the weight of life becomes so much lighter. I Peter 5:7 exhorts us to cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” We can pray about anything and everything. If it concerns us; it concerns Him.
So, if we ever go to New York City on a train- leave the extra luggage behind. While we go through everyday life let us drop the unnecessary weight so that we can enjoy the abundant life that Jesus came to give to all of us.
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.