Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day...(Jer. 17)
this sounds suspiciously like a passage in Hebrews:
For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest...(Heb. 4)
The Sabbath was spoken of as a perpetual covenant. How is it perpetual? Christ is the substance of the Sabbath shadow, and in Him we have a perpetual covenant of rest.
You cannot know rest without the grace and peace that comes to you through the gospel. Paul's words "Grace and Peace to you" were no mere greeting. He knew that grace and peace were prerequisites to rest. You will never have rest, so long as you are burdened by your own insufficiency...or the insufficiency of others.
Without grace and peace, you will always be burdened by someones insufficient ability, insufficient finances, insufficient education, insufficient experience, insufficient humility, insufficient wisdom, insufficient performance.
Isn't that the essence of all burdens? We grow anxious or angry or addled or agitated when we ourselves, or someone else, does not meet an expected standard. When we fall short, through ignorance, willfulness, or inadequacy, there is immediately created a sense of burden.
I can almost promise you that burden-bearing has become second nature to you. You have likely developed a sophisticated, even unconscious network of mechanisms to compensate, carry, and continue beneath a variety of burdens. You likely are living as though some form of burden bearing constitutes normal life.
I can definitely promise you that a burden free life is what God means to be second nature to you. We are commanded to bear no burdens whatsoever on the Sabbath...
...and Jesus is our Sabbath.
Without the "grace and peace" found in the gospel, we operate in a mode of either drawing confidence from ours and others' performance, or we operate in a mode of ever-so-slightly eroded confidence, based on the under-performance of ourselves or others. The more disciplined and accomplished we are, the more confidence we feel.
The more disciplined and accomplished someone else is, the more confidence we feel in them.
The only problem is that, like Paul said, everything we once thought of as asset, is now considered liability. The new sufficiency is Christ's all sufficiency. The new ability is Christ's ability. The new work is to rest.
And if you think resting in the finished work of Christ is easy, then tell me, if you will, why legalists can't do it? I'll tell you why - because it takes doing the real work of God, which is believing on Jesus, whom God hath sent. All other kinds of work comes easy as falling, and fall we always do.
The hard work is found in laying every. single. burden. down.
Today is your Sabbath, friend. Today is the time to cease from your own efforts.
I defy you to obey God's Sabbath imperative without a deeper understanding of grace than what you now have. Living by the law is way easier. It is far-and-away easier to live life trying to please God. It is exponentially more difficult to lay burdens down, submit to the gift of righteousness, and put no confidence in the flesh.
We think bearing burdens justifies our own existence. The cooler the burden a man bears, the cooler the man. And some burdens are just plain cool...admit it. Who do you know, who complains about the burden of being in a higher tax bracket, the burden of a successful career, the burden of an estate, the burden of keeping his pool properly maintained?
In our culture, those burdens mean that you are a rock-star.
Well, it is equally cool to bear the burden of fasting, prayer, and early rising. In fact, we can't help but let it slip in "casual conversation", if we regularly bear those burdens. When we fall short in the area of Christian perfection, it feels so...so...so holy to angst about our imperfections, and go immediately to work on them. Cool packs on our back, they are. Tokens of our ability to out-perform.
In kingdom culture, success is measured by how little you bear, not how much. The Sabbath is a perpetual covenant, and we still have our part of it to remember and keep.
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."
Do. No. Work. Bear. No. Burdens.
The burden has already been borne. Sins and sorrows were carried by Christ to the cross. The work has already been done. Christ said, "It is finished." All that remains is rest.
There yet remains a rest for you. Work very hard to enter into it.
Funny - the holiest believers I know are the ones who don't work at being holy. So untorque yourself, friend. Rest may not be cool, but it is necessary to your sanctification.