I love to read books. I read all kinds, fiction, nonfiction, biographies, history and of course theology books. One time I got really excited about Stephen Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I told my wife, Julie, all about it and told her she really needed to read this book. She looked at me and said, “I don’t need to read it you just told me everything written in it!” I do tend to overshare when I am excited.
I just read another book that I’m really excited about. Let me tell you about it! It’s by Dane Ortlund and is called, Gentle and Lowly- The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers. He based the book on the verse where Jesus describes who He is and what His heart is like toward us. It is Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Using Puritan writers, Thomas Goodwin, John Bunyan, and Jonathan Edwards, Ortlund paints a beautiful picture of Jesus’ heart for all of us. The only requirement that Jesus has for us, is that we come to Him. When we bring our burdens to Him, He works and moves in such a way that burdens become easy and light.
Here is what Ortlund says in the first chapter:
“The minimum bar to be enfolded into the embrace of Jesus is simply: open yourself up to Him. It is all He needs. Indeed, it is the only thing He works with. Verse 28 of our passage in Matthew 11 tells us explicitly who qualifies for fellowship with Jesus: “all who labor and are heavy laden.” You don’t need to unburden or collect yourself and then come to Jesus. Your very burden is what qualifies you to come. No payment is required; He says, “I will give you rest.” His rest is a gift not a transaction.”
This book has drawn me more into the presence and heart of Jesus. It has helped me forgive myself and reminded me anew that Jesus’ heart for me is to come to Him and He will give me forgiveness, rest, and restoration. His only requirement is that I come and open myself up to Him. It’s a great book. You should read it! (I tried not to tell you all about it!)