The book The Giving Tree always bothered me. Sure, some uphold it as the ideal of how we should be willing to give of ourselves freely to the help one another but I never liked it. The tree is a selfless character who gives until he has nothing left and, at his end, with nothing left, the man sits on the stump, having drained of everything. The man, on the other hand, systematically took everything the tree had one piece at a time until there was nothing left. It doesn’t seem to be the endearing story that people made it out to me during my childhood.
At this stage in my life, I have days where I begin to feel like the tree. Desperately trying to do what is right while simultaneously feeling as if I have nothing left to offer. These past few weeks have been no exception to this. There has been this gradual, consistent, lingering draining feeling. Being pulled in different directions where everyone wants something, can have an effect on a person. Every last person goes through times of feeling drained. Sometimes it’s physically, sometimes emotionally, and sometimes it’s spiritual, but more often than not, its all three. Whatever the source may be, I am no stranger to feeling drained.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
For everyone who has ever felt drained and empty, Christ offers an alternative. There is the promise of rest for our souls, often times despite the tumultuous situations we find ourselves in. Sure, we will all endure times of feeling drained and our energy lacking, but Jesus seeks to restore our soul eternally. There is rest. There is peace. And there is the easy burden that Christ gives to us all.
Through The Eyes of God
For as much as The Giving Tree hurt to read, I have to admit that I cannot fully identify with either the tree or the man. Some days, I am the tree willing to give up of myself for those in need. Sadly, this is not every day. Some days I feel as though I have nothing left and have given everything I have. Other days, I am probably the man. I take without considering what it is I’m taking. I, selfishly, never have enough. My soul is unable to fully sustain itself. Some days I am the tree but more often than not, I’m the man.The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross was gladly given to bring us home to Him Click To Tweet
For however much I try to be the tree, to God I am the man. For my salvation, it required that Jesus pay the ultimate sacrifice, His life on the cross. The only way I could experience salvation is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Yet, the feelings I have for the man in The Giving Tree are not the feelings God has towards us. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross was gladly given to bring us home to Him. We are His creation, made in His image. Love for His people made the sacrifice on Christ on the cross an easy decision. In Jesus Christ, the provision of His rest never runs out and we are able to continually run towards Him and find rest when we are drained.
Resting In The Arms of God
Knowing the selfish nature of man, Christ still came to take on the roll of a servant. Our nature of greed and selfishness did not deter the loving God to become man. In seeing our helplessness, Christ made a way. As we felt drained, Christ emptied Himself to remove the burden. The pain and anguish of our exhaustion is only temporary because Jesus has defeated the ultimate consequences. There is no weakness that Christ cannot make strong and no emptiness that He cannot fill.The invitation of rest is not given as a last resort but as a first response. Click To Tweet
The love of Christ makes the path towards rest plain. We are bid by God to come to Him and find rest. For whatever we are dealing with, Jesus invites us to bring it to Him and lay it down. The invitation of rest is not given as a last resort but as a first response. Feeling drained? Come to Jesus to be filled again. Lay bear before Jesus with your weaknesses and pains and He will give you rest. So much of our emptiness is spent in us trying to fill ourselves up in vain when, instead, we can abide in the word and presence of God to restore our soul.
Talk It Out
- What are some of the things that typically drain us? How do you normally respond when you are feeling drained and like you have nothing left? What do you normally do to cope with that kind of feeling?
- When Jesus says “Come to me all who are weary” what was he talking about immediately before? How is Christ’s relationship to the Father extended to us?
- If we are being honest, do we view our times of coming to Jesus as refreshing or as an obligation?
- How is coming to Christ when we are weary a time of refreshing? When have we experienced that kind of rest in Jesus Christ?
- Based on what Jesus tells us in verses 28-30, what is Jesus’ disposition towards us?
- What does resting in the presence of God look like in a practical sense? How do we do this?
For more in this series, check out Drained