My dad worked in the construction business and I remember that while growing up one of my favorite things was to get to go to the jobsite and work with my dad. On one of those days we had to move some fence posts that had been torn out to make way for the construction of a new house. These posts still had the concrete used to set them attached to the base of the posts. Since I was only nine or ten years old at the time I wasn’t really strong enough to be much help. But I remember my dad saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll get the heavy end, you just follow along behind me”. He had a way of making me feel like I had really contributed something when in actuality he had done most of the work. What I figured out later was that he really didn’t need my strength, lacking as it was, just a willingness to follow his lead and hold up the other end.
A relationship with Jesus Christ is very similar. The greatest weight we carry as human beings, each and every one of us, is our sin (Rom. 3:23, 1 Jn. 1:8). It weighs on every one of our relationships and impacts every one of our decisions. The weight of sin is what brings the feelings of guilt and despair that all of us have felt at one point or another in our lives. Sin separates us from God and other people and prevents the restoration of those relationships. But Jesus has promised to take that load for us and to carry it all himself thereby making restoration possible. All we have to do is hold up our end by following him.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Jesus hasn’t left us alone to hold up our end all on our own, he has given us others just like us to share in the journey. As we follow Jesus, we have brothers and sisters who help us follow him by pointing us in the right direction, guiding us when the way becomes unclear and sharing the burdens we carry as we seek to follow him. The church is a group of people who have realized we can’t do it on our own and we have cast the weight of our sin upon Jesus and now together as a family are making every effort to follow him as he leads us down the path of life.
So, for all of us who are weary, heavy laden and are struggling under the weight of our sin, Jesus says to bring it to him and he will give us rest (Matt. 11:28). He does that by standing in our place and carrying the whole load. What he calls upon us to do is to pass the load on to him by confessing and repenting of our sin and trusting his leadership for our lives (Rom. 10:9). The Bible says that those who confess their sin can expect forgiveness of that sin and a cleansing from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9). Put simply, if we are willing to confess our sin before God, Jesus will take it all away. It won’t be ours anymore. He takes the weight and we become cleansed in the process and thereby we find our rest.