As He (Jesus) was praying, the appearance of His face was altered, and His clothes became dazzling white. Luke 9:29
In The Lutheran Hour sermon this past weekend, I spoke about the do-it-yourself thinking that has taken our culture by storm. We can go to YouTube and find expert tips and detailed demos on how to tile our bathrooms, repair our washing machines, even how to get our makeup just so.
The DIY attitude comes quite naturally to us. It shows itself from our toddler days, when we insisted on walking ourselves, feeding ourselves, dressing ourselves -- pushing away the more competent hands of our mothers and fathers. But that gets pretty tiring in this life. Don't you get exhausted struggling to pay your bills, dealing with your aches and pains, fighting the daily temptations, juggling your hectic schedule, trying to stay fit and healthy, and searching for a little bit of rest here and there? And how often do we falter and fail? Wouldn't it be nice to set those burdens aside from time to time and sit down and rest while someone else handles them?
God never designed our lives to be a great list of DIY projects. He created us to be in relationship with Him. And even if we were able to accomplish a majority of these projects, He knows that kind of living will leave us worn out, bitter, disappointed and disillusioned because all our projects are short-lived. They will always fail to bring lasting peace, joy, contentment and hope.
And besides, there are all kinds of things we can't do for ourselves. We can't control the weather, or the actions of other people. We can't keep the economy from growing stagnant or our bodies from aging. We can't stop ourselves from stumbling and falling. We are not as self-sufficient as we might like to think.
That is why Jesus invites us, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). On the Mountain of Transfiguration, Jesus' disciples -- Peter, James and John -- got to experience a brief taste of the eternal rest that awaits each of us in heaven. They looked in awe and wonder upon Jesus' dazzling body which no longer concealed His divine majesty. They listened to His discussion with Moses and Elijah as they spoke about the great project only He could complete: saving the world from all our sins. No wonder Peter wanted to stay there.
Yet when they came down that mountain, it was Jesus who took on Himself the greatest DIY project. He took it upon Himself to pay the price for our failings and flaws, our disobedience and stubborn self-reliance when He took our place on the cross and by His sufferings there satisfied all of God's wrath at our sins. He was abandoned by His Father so that we might never be left alone. He promises "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20b).
When He takes away the burdens of our guilt, failings and brokenness, He sets us free to help those around us who are being crushed beneath their burdens in life. He joins us to His church, to share each other's struggles and bring each other's needs in prayer to our Heavenly Father. No longer are we do-it-yourself people, we are do-it-together-with-the-Lord-at-our-side people today and forever.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You removed my burden as You carried my sins to the cross and destroyed them forever. Give me grace and strength to notice those around me who are crushed beneath their burdens, that I may joyfully share Your free salvation with them. In Your Name we pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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