John Gray - Labor Day
Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light". I want to talk to you from the subject heading Labor Day. Labor Day. We just came out of the Labor Day weekend, and we celebrated Labor Day in this country on Monday. And I love Labor Day because it's a day that we celebrate work by not working. It's like the greatest holiday ever. It's Labor Day and you get to not do what the day says.
And this idea of labor, this idea of a day dedicated to the workers and the working class, and by celebrating the day, we take the day off, is significant not only in the natural but in the spirit. Because we exist in a very capitalistic culture. In western society, it is a corporate culture, it is a capitalistic society. We are push, push, push, climb the corporate ladder, let's try to get ahead, let's get more education so we can have more opportunities, opportunities for advancement. We can make more money, we can buy more things, we can get further in debt, so we can try to run and impress the people next to us and then no, they didn't get a new car. Wait till next week, wait till next month, wait till later this year, I'ma get my bonus, I'ma roll up in something new too.
And so we war against the idea of success. But at what cost? Jesus in Matthew 11:28 is speaking and he starts this Matthew 11 talking about John the Baptist and his ministry and he's talking to the pharisees. He's talking to religious leaders. He's also speaking to his disciples, along with farmers, common folk, shepherds, miscellaneous people and here at this particular point, he's got a nice group of people. Theologians believe that this was not just Jesus talking to a regular crowd, he was talking to his disciples and pharisees were also present. So he had the ruling religious class, he had these budding relationships with and then he had just regular folk, somebody say regular folk.
You know we miss the beauty of regular folk. In a culture that celebrates people who have achieved, we miss the beauty of the regular. We talk about the ones who make the millions and millions of dollars and we celebrate our sports figures and we celebrate our entertainment figures, but I don't see nobody saying Truck Drivers Day. I don't see anybody saying let's give it up for the assistant teacher, not even the main teacher, but the one that's over in the small desk that keeps the kids in line.
I don't see anybody talking about Bakery Day for the people that are back there baking bread and muffins for us to get fat on, thank you, Jesus. National Coffee-Makers Day, for the folk at Dunkin' Donuts that put that coffee on blast so we can get to work 'cause we have sleep because we were up half the night helping our child with a science project that won't even help them to get a job later, but we want them to win so we pull out all the foil and we painting stuff and they're like, "Mommy can I try", "Get away, this is my project, you just don't even say anything. You better win, I mean I better win, I mean we better win".
It's a strange culture where there are churches that exist, and even inside of churches, there is a culture of elitism and I believe that God is doing away with that. I believe God is very tired of that which is why people who don't know anything about Jesus maybe don't want to come to church because they've gotten wind that even in church we play favorites. I love Jesus 'cause he doesn't play favorites. He'll sit with the pharisee in his house while a prostitute washes his feet with her tears and dries them with her hair, heals her, saves her, delivers her, says nothing to her and keeps talking to the pharisee.
That's the kind of Jesus I serve, where it doesn't matter if you're the worst of the worst, or you think you're the best of the best, he still says, "You all have equal value, for there are none righteous no, not one". There's only one that's sinless, only one that's spotless, only one that's blameless, only one that went to the cross. Only one that died and rose again. Only one that's seated at the right hand of the father. Only one that's going to break the clouds one day, only one able to say he'll forgive and restore, and his name is Jesus Christ. Jesus was trying to teach and instead of just looking at the words that he spoke, I want to think about the people that he was speaking to. Not just the pharisees, but the regular folk who've been working hard.
You know the pharisees, they were tough on the people. If you messed up, you did it again, eye for an eye. Oh you ate shrimp. You better not do anything on the sabbath, you better not work. You yawn, that's work. Because religion puts too many burdens on you. Too much oppression on you and before you know it, instead of loving God, you resent God. I know you won't say amen, 'cause you don't want people to think it was you at one point but let me just speak for me. Until I realized the saving power of Jesus and the finished work of the cross, there were times when I would get frustrated saying, "God I can't do this, I can't do this". He's like, "I know and by the way, stop yelling 'cause I'm God don't play".
I'm sorry. Jesus was actually speaking to people who were tired of religion. And he said, "You all come to me who are labored and are heavy laden. I'ma give you what you couldn't get in all these other things you've been trying. I'ma give you rest". Oh, Lakewood, if you would just come to Jesus. Grew up in a little church, we sing "Come to Jesus, come to Jesus, come to Jesus just now, just now come to Jesus, come to Jesus just now" and is just a little song. And it sounds real simple but it is because we all came in here, many of you came from work, haven't even had a chance to get home. Hadn't even had a chance to really eat a good meal.
What made you leave work after dealing with them folk all day. It took you 40 minutes just to unwind from the day that's why worship goes as long as it does. It's not 'cause we want you to know learn 50 songs. You need that much just to wipe up off the mess, from the day. That worship washes you. I feel the Holy Spirit in here. Let the worship just wash you. Let the worship rinse off the detritus of people who are posturing plotting against you, whispering against you, and then smiling in your face. Let the worship speak to your spirit and anchor your soul and heal you in your heart, and by the time the worship is done, here comes the word to seed you so you can get up and keep going the next day.
I want to thank God for the people that to come straight from a hard day's work into the presence of the Lord. You've done a wise thing, because the devil was hoping you "just drive on home, turn on your favorite show, eat some food, go to sleep worrying", but he messed up because you got here and because you got here, God's about to speak into your weary area. Oh hallelujah. I don't know about you but if you're not careful weariness will sneak up on you. Working hard, trying to pay bills, trying to make ends meet. You're a grown man, doing the best you can for your family. You come home, all you want is a hot meal, some nice music. As soon as you walk in, "Daddy, daddy"! And they run and they hug you and they're speaking to you, and they're telling you all their issues.
And then here come the wife, "There's another bill, another notice. Now I asked you last month about this, now, it was white now it's pink. It was white, it was yellow, now it's pink. I need you to do something 'cause when it get bright red, then they going to shut it off. I need you... I just wish he would listen to me half the time. If he would just listen to me, we wouldn't even be in this situation. If you can just listen". "I just came in, I still have my boots on from working. Can I have a sandwich? Can I have peanut butter with some chips? Can I have some grape kool-aid? Something with some ice in it? Can you, before you tell me what I'm not doing, can you tell me what I am doing"? Weary because we're trying to do the best that we can.
Same thing for the women. Women you all are super, super women. Working, praying, cooking, cleaning, serving. You done worked all day. You come home you got to help three kids with different projects. Your husband wants food and then he wants ministry. Amen. I'm trying to preach brother, I feel something in here. I said I'm trying to preach to the people. I teach the people with the word. And ladies, nobody understands how much you've had to sacrifice to be mama, wife, daughter, sister, auntie, employee, but who's taking care of you?
Another symptom of unhealthy labor, NO PEACE. You got stuff but no peace. Always looking over your shoulder, worrying about who's coming up behind you at your job. I got to keep working hard, there's a young buck coming behind me. He just graduated with his master's degree. He ain't going to get my job. Get your hands off my job, sir. You go to work stressed and you just be on 1000. Your supervisor, "How you doing". "Fine. Ready to go, sir. If you need me all day, I'll be here, if you need me all night, I'll be here. I'll call off tell my wife, who cares about an anniversary? We'll have another one next year". No peace, just nervous just all the time. New email, oh my God, they're going to fire me. Jesus. It's an invitation to a party. No peace. Symptoms of unhealthy labor.
Another symptom of unhealthy labor, NO REST. Jesus said, "If you come to me, you'll have rest for your soul". No rest, how many of us have gone to sleep but woke up still fatigued? No rest. That's a symptom that there's some things you probably have not given to Jesus. You got to let it go. Give that thing to Jesus. I promise you he can handle it. And the beauty of you giving it to Jesus is that he's not going to judge you while you bring it, he's not like people. 'Cause some things you share with people, they be like, "There it is, I knew it. I knew it, come on, tell me the rest". Cause unfortunately sometimes people like you better broken.
But let me just give you a little revelation. I was born broken, so anything good comes out of me is a miracle anyway because it's Jesus on the inside through the person of the Holy Spirit that allows me to, in him I live and move and have my being. So I'm not going to lose sleep trying to impress you. I'm not going to lose sleep worrying about what could and couldn't happen. I'm not going to lose sleep, listening to the lie of the enemy. It's time for you to get your joy back, time for you to get your strength back, time for you to get your peace back. It's time for you to get your rest back. You need a spirit of...
May the Lord give you the sweetest sleep you've ever had. May you dream again in your sleep. May you feel like your grandmother's holding you in her arms and the breeze of the summer is whispering over your face. May the Lord speak to you in your dreams and sing songs over you in the night. May the Lord give you the best sleep that you've had in years as you lay down your burdens, as you lay down your cares, as you lay down the labor of yourself effort at his feet. Help me Jesus. This is the war. The war is works versus rest. This is the war.
For the next seven days, note the war. For the next seven days, note the war. Work versus rest. Watch opportunities that the world will give you to work harder. Jesus will be like, "If you give that to me, you can work smarter, you won't have to stay up 18 hours. I can give you the strategy for that, and you can finish that in two hours, save 16 hours, sleep eight of them, enjoy your family with four of them, pray and talk to me for two of them, and the other two, you can watch a movie". Listen to me, God will give you strategy, if you come to him. The war is work versus rest. Self-effort versus childlike trust in the Lord. In the scripture, when he says, "I will give you rest", it means to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength.
Now, what's funny is I'm talking to myself 'cause nobody works harder I think, than me. I travel all the time. I'm compelled to preach the Gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:16, whether I do it out of compulsion, or do it because I'm called, then I do it as a trust. I do it because I'm compelled. I believe that Jesus Christ is the only hope of the world and I believe that I have got to preach the Gospel. That is my calling. It's not what I do, it's not even always what I desire to do, but it is what I'm created to do. And I'ma preach it till I die, and I'm never going to compromise the Gospel. But on the other side, I have a family. And the battle is how do you balance the calling of ministry versus the calling of home? And it's a battle that I'm in right now because I'm got to learn how to figure out how to meet the needs of my family while simultaneously honoring the call of God on my life.
So for me, it's preaching for you, you might have another type of job or vocation, and God is going to speak to you this week, I prophetically believe that God will speak to you and give you strategy, so that you can make sure that the main thing is the main thing, 'cause I promise you, that job will keep going, if you drop dead tomorrow, which you won't, and they won't think twice. They'll be sad for a minute, but after the potato salad and the chicken, they will have your job posted somewhere. But your kids need you more, and your wife and husband needs you more, and your mama needs you more, and you need to understand that that is more important than pleasing people. Amen John Gray.
I've got more, but we'll just save it for next week. Bring somebody with you, we're going to do Labor Day part two. Before I go, let me give you this last point. I say Labor Day part two, they say, "Well since it's part two, let me go and get to my car, God bless your heart". Doug. The whole idea of work versus rest, the enemy wants you to switch faces. He wants you to be so confused about your role that you forget who you are. Because to one group of people, you have to be this to someone else you have to be this, and to this group of people you have to be that. And God says, "I only created you with one face".
So if who you actually are isn't enough, then those people need to leave your life. And you need to be okay with that. This is Labor Day, baby. This is not the day to work, it's the day to rest. I finished the work, come rest in me. If people don't like the face they see, let them find another face. Ladies, if he doesn't love you as you are, then that's his problem. You're single, you make a wise choice, wait on God. And that's what I'ma be talking about next week, because the problem with many of us is we have a wait problem. W-A-I-T, I could preach it right now, but I'll wait till next week.