Rest For The Weary

The following 'Prayer Service Sermon' is posted with family permission.  May the Lord give to the family of Randy Rotenberg, and all who mourn, comfort in their grief and a sure confidence in the Lord's loving care.  

Text:  Matthew 11:28-30

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

This world that we live in is a world of constant ‘doing’ and ‘going.’  We are all like hamsters on a circular wheel – frantically running to keep up with life, but often not going anywhere.  In fact, the more we attempt to keep up appearances, the more strength it takes.  And the more strength that we exert, the more that we get drained, resulting in weariness. 

Now, even though we get tired, we rarely like to admit it, so we tend never to surrender.  Deep down we believe that we can reach that carrot at the end of the stick if only we work hard enough and never give up. 

Without even realizing it, though, all of our efforts, and all of our endeavors take a toll on us.  This constant going becomes like a heavy yoke that is placed over our shoulders and our souls.  Like an ox that has a heavy yoke placed over its neck and is forced to drag a heavy load, life has a way of becoming a constant heavy weight upon us. 

All of this is made worse when things, like sickness, hit us.  Indeed, that heavy yoke becomes all the heavier when we are hit by ill health, ill health that lands us flat on our back. 

Considering this, when these times of bad health happen, we really do not have any other choice but to come to the realization that we are truly tired, burnt out, and simply exhausted. 

Now the reason why I mention all of this is that this is where our brother Randy eventually ended up.  Towards the end, he simply was exhausted and tired.  Tired of the fight against cancer; worn out from all the hospital visits.  Furthermore, the reason why I mention this is because all of you, as friends and family of Randy, are impacted by this exhaustion and tiredness as well.  The loss of a loved one, prayer services, and funerals bring forth sorrow, the reality of death, and the burden of grief, which then has a way of imparting weariness; death has a way of burdening the soul. 

Admitting all of this may cause us a bit of discomfort.  In other words, this may be uncomfortable for us to acknowledge because admitting Randy’s weariness – and ours – may be seen as a sign of weakness.  Also, once we admit our weariness and burdens, we can become insecure, for what should we do with these burdens?  What should we do with this weariness?  What should we do with these insecurities? 
Dear friends, you, who have ears, hear. Jesus bids us in these Gospel words to come to Him ‘with’ our heavy loads.  He calls us to give over all that laboring and that heavy yoke.  Jesus says in tonight’s Gospel reading, “Come to me and I will give you rest.”

This is the great invitation of the Christian faith.  Christ Jesus calls us unto Himself because He is the one that relieves us of our burdens and weariness.  That is true for you and that is true for Randy as well. 

Christ Jesus calls the weary, the burdened, the tired, the sick, the dying unto Himself so that He might give rest.  He called Randy unto Himself, and He calls you unto Himself.  He calls you unto Himself, for He is gentle and humble and in Him you find rest for your weary and burdened souls. 

Dear friends, what we cannot bear, Jesus bears for us.  He carries that heavy yoke of life for us.  In other words, Jesus came to live the life that we cannot live and came to die the death that we cannot die so that in Him we might have newness of life.  Indeed, upon Jesus, the condemnation of our sin was laid.  The death for sin Jesus died in our place.  The forsakenness of God, which is for our sin, Jesus took in our place, for He is the sin-bearer – the sin-bearer for Randy, for you, and for me.  He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

There is no doubt about it that Randy became very tired at the end, but tonight we hear that He was not abandoned in His weariness.  Oh, no, he was not left to fend for himself, for Jesus not only invited Randy but became Randy’s rest.  Christ Jesus paid for all of Randy’s sins and set Him free.  He fought the battle against, sin, death, and the devil for Randy.  He is Randy’s relief, Randy’s rescue, and Randy’s rest – not only towards the end of Randy’s life but currently right now.  Yes, my friends, Randy is at rest with Jesus right now.  Jesus broke the yoke of sin’s slavery for Randy and has Randy dwelling in His shelter, where there is no more fear, no more burdens, no more tiredness, and no more terror. 

Indeed, Jesus gave His cross to Randy and with it forgiveness, acceptance, and rest.  Even though the sting of death is felt here among us, Randy is at rest with Jesus – the kind of rest that you feel when the heavy pack comes off, and you take off your heavy boots, and your feet can’t believe the ease and the lightness of walking. 

Tonight as we gather, we gather to not only remember Randy, but we gather to hear the Gospel – the good news – that in Jesus there is no heavy or ill-fitting thing laid upon you.  Jesus is your shepherd, king, master, substitute, Savior, and Lord.  Thus, whatever comes to you, whether good or bad, health or sickness, life or death, you can face it together with Jesus.  Yes, with Jesus we can only be crushed if Jesus gets crushed too.  Ah, but keep in mind that He has already been crushed, and He was resurrected; therefore, in Christ, there is no condemnation of sin, no fear of death, but only forgiveness, life, and salvation with Him.  

Blessed Saints, this evening and in the shadow of death, come unto Christ for Christ gives real rest.  Walk with Him, dance with Him, sing with Him, die with Him, and resurrect with Him.   Take, trust, and feast upon the Gospel for your souls knowing that it is not by your might or by your power, but by Jesus’ power and might that you live, walk, breath, die, and resurrect unto everlasting life. 

“Come to me, and I will give you rest,” Jesus says.  Rest that He has given to Randy and rest that He gives to you this evening.

In the name of Jesus: Amen. 

To listen to the Funeral Sermon, CLICK HERE.

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