28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:2-30 (MSG)
I was reading a book and the author suggested trying something different to let the Bible leave more of an impression on my sometimes too busy life. I decided to try it. As I “discover” a Bible verse that speaks to me, I print it out and hang it in a couple of places around my house. When I am in those places, I see it and read it and think about it. Some people would memorize it but I’m not sure I’d be too successful at that so instead I decided to let it seep in to my soul.
Today’s verse particularly intrigued me. I love the words “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” I started pondering what that meant. What are unforced rhythms of grace? As I thought about Jesus and how he interacted with people, I think I got a glimpse into how this looked.
Jesus was always around a lot of people. He spent the most time around his disciples and Peter, James and John. If you watch how he interacts with folks, it’s always different. He addresses them individually, where and how they need to hear him.
When Peter is spouting off, Jesus corrects him. When Peter does something great, Jesus commends him. When the woman with the bleeding disease touches his robe she expects to be chastised but Jesus affirms her. He tells them stories that are relevant to the moment. He constantly meets people where they are and loves on them in the way they need to be loved.
Jesus never said “Look. Here’s the deal. In order to follow me you need to clean yourselves up. Change your clothes, get new friends who do the same things you do and try to look the part. Once everyone is in line, we can grow the Kingdom.” That’s not how he worked. Instead he showered grace (His favor) on all he came in contact with and encouraged them to be themselves while learning to love him.
In The Voice verse 29 says “Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves.” I love that imagery. When Jesus calls us to follow him, the way we do it fits us perfectly.
How do we share Jesus in a way that is full of grace? How do we share this life while letting it fit each person individually? Jesus answers that too. “Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.” We are never going to grow God’s Kingdom by trying to make everyone look the part. It takes acceptance and unconditional love that only comes from a relentless focus on Jesus.