Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
He was a loving father, husband, grandfather, brother, prayer warrior; he was my friend. He was the father of one of my closest friends who helped me heal my life back together. To me he was Mr. Bru, but to Lisa, her awesome dad. A bunch of people that paid honor to him a few short weeks ago will miss him. His prayer circles that he prayed live on in those that knew him and he continues to influence us today. As Lisa was taking care of his belongings, she came across a bible that was presented, from her and her sister, to their parents long ago. She gave me that bible as a memory to him. I was, completely blown away by that. So, I cherish that bible in a special place on my desk. As I was flipping through that much worn bible, I came across some sermon notes on an attendance card. He listed the three causes of unhappiness; loss of loved ones, loneliness, and failures. The above verses found in Matthew 11:28-30 answer all three of these unhappy situations.
There is nothing more debilitating than the loss of loved ones and friends. I lost two friends in two weeks, Mr. Bru being one of them. It tears at your very soul; the pain is very real and nothing that can make you happy. Yes, we are happy our loved ones are with God, but we are dealing with the attachment we had to them and the day in and day out interaction that was there for so long. I lost a best friend a few years back and it put me into a 5-year depression. I slowly began to eat myself to death with the most horrible food you can eat. Comfort food only made me comfortable until I looked in the mirror and the scale. The first verse brings one word that stands out and that is rest. A heavy burden of loss is eased with rest. When you think of rest, you think of peace, because rest is peace to the body, soul, and spirit. Rest is God surrounding us with friends that can empathize with what we are going through if we allow them. It took me years to talk about my friend and what his loss meant to me. To turn this unhappy situation around takes time and resting in God and knowing that He is going to get you through this and that you have people surrounding you that can help lift you up.
The next cause of unhappiness is loneliness. Loneliness comes from a fear to interact with people. Some people choose to be lonely because of prior hurt in their lives. They shut out people and build walls around themselves. God never meant it for us to be lonely. If we don’t surround ourselves with friends then when the loss of loved ones hits, where do we put our pain? God uses people to help us. That’s why we are not alone on this planet. The next verse gives us two words to deal with loneliness, humble and gentle. Being humble and gentle is the friendliest way you can be. If you show yourself friendly, then you will have friends. Go to church, get out of the house, and meet people. It’s an amazing life and it is too short to go it all alone without the enjoyment of friends along for the ride.
The last cause of unhappiness is failures. Either we can learn from our failures or we can quit trying. For the successful person quitting is not in their vocabulary. Quitting should only apply if your dream doesn’t line up with God’s path for your life. Then that is going from one dream to another dream. True quitting is not looking for the next dream. The words that stick out to me in this last verse are a light burden. We should never allow failure to be a heavy burden and then not allow ourselves to look for the next dream. Making the burden light means keep looking, trying, and doing for the next dream. If my Pastor quit at the first sign of opposition, we would not have five church campuses and one being in Africa. We wouldn’t be feeding the hungry and helping the poor every week. He would not week after week instill excellence being a part of our lives that we should strive for. The light burden is continuing and overcoming. The heavy burden is quitting and not trying, settling for a life filled with mediocrity.
Mr. Bru was full of life, never a quitter, and always encouraged a positive lifestyle. He dealt with some major losses in his life, but found rest in God and surrounded himself with friends that loved him and a family the cherished him. Not only was he not a quitter, he was always successful in everything he did in his life. He still influences us today with a little attendance card with three points found in Matthew 11. I’m grateful to God for putting him in my life and so grateful for his daughter that learned from his example and was able to pass that on into my life so that I could flourish and grow and heal.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.