Unload the Backpack!

Happy New Year!

We’re two days in to 2017. How are you doing?

I ask because 2016 didn’t go away. The backpack of concerns, brokenness, failures and pain didn’t get dropped at 11:59 on December 31, 2106 to never be seen again; wow that would be awesome if it was.

Yet, if you’re like me and every other person on the planet, you woke up on January 1, 2017 still wondering how to pay off debts, lose the Christmas pounds (and then some), reconcile with that one friend you miss terribly, and gear up for the next season of leading. Whew….just writing that all out was exhausting and we know the list in incomplete; I could list off all the ways in which you’re hoping your faith will grow, your kids will love Jesus…..

That backpack is heavy with your concerns about leading, family and ministry as well as the concerns for your people. How do we start 2017 with joy and newness if we can’t set the backpack down? It’s exhausting caring around the weights of ministry and life, especially when we rely on ourselves to carry it instead of Jesus.

I know, I know; “I’m a pastor, I care. That’s what I do.”

Yet in 2016, Rachel said something in passing that stuck with me and challenged me to evaluate HOW I was caring for the people God has placed at VillageHouston. She simply quoted Jesus himself from Matthew 11:30, For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus called us. As ministers, missionaries and leaders in and outside the church, he called us to care, to lead and to disciple but we COMPLICATE it so. We grab hold of the struggles our people are having and we put them in our backpack to carry with us, worrying over them, holding on to them, and hoping that if we carry them our people will grow and change. We become burdened in a way that is NOT easy or light. When Jesus asks us to walk with people through challenges and suffering, he also promises to carry the load.

The whole passage in Matthew 11:28-30 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.”

Did you crawl into 2017 with a not so great list? Are you starting 2017 run down, dragging and hoping that the New Year will not add to the weights you’re carrying?

Today, sit down. Just sit down in a quiet corner, carve out ten minutes and unpack the backpack with Jesus. Maybe not the whole thing in ten minutes but maybe what’s near the top. Take it out, lay it in front of him and tell him about it. Ask him, Is this his yoke? Is this his burden? Is it light and easy? If not, leave it out of the pack.

I’m praying for every person who reads this that they will experience renewed trust in Jesus and his light and easy ways.

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