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Spurgeon on January 8, 1871 (collected sermons, volume 17), preached the sermon, “Rest, Rest” on Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

In that sermon, he explains that the rest promised by Christ is not the rest of laziness, of being a sluggard. In some very important ways, the life of the Christian is supernaturally difficult. It is a rest from one’s sin and shame, but it is a bearing of the cross:

Further observe that the rest in this second part of our text is a rest in service. It is coupled with a yoke, for activity — ”Take my yoke;” it is connected with a burden, for endurance — ”My burden is light.” He who is a Christian will not find rest in being idle. There is no unrest greater than that of the sluggard. If you would rest take Christ’s yoke, be actively engaged in his service. As the bullock has the yoke put upon its neck and then begins to draw, so have the yoke of Christ put on your neck and commence to obey him. The rest of heaven is not the rest of sleep; they serve him day and night in his temple. They are always resting, and yet, in another sense, they rest not day nor night. Holy activity in heaven is perfect rest. True rest to the mind of the child of God is rest on the wing, rest in motion, rest in service, not rest with the yoke off, but, with the yoke on. We are to enter upon this service voluntarily; we are to take his yoke upon us voluntarily. You observe, it does not say, “Bear my yoke when it is laid upon you, but take it.” Do not need to be told by the minister, “My dear brother, such-and-such a work you are bound to do,” but take up the yoke of your own accord. Do not merely submit to be the Lord’s servant, but seek his service. Ask, “What can I do?” Be desirous to do it; voluntarily, cheerfully, do all that lieth in you for the extension of his kingdom who has given you rest, and you shall find that the rest of your soul shall lie in your doing all you can for Jesus. Every active Christian will tell you he is never happier than when he has much to do; and, on the whole, if he communes with Jesus, never more at rest than when he has least leisure. Look not for your rest in the mere enjoyments and excitements of religion, but find your rest in wearing a yoke which you love, and which, for that reason, is easy to your neck.

But, my dear brother, you must also be willing to bear Christ’s burden. Now the burden of Christ is his cross, which every Christian must take up. Expect to be reproached, expect to meet with some degree of the scandal of the cross, for the offense of it never ceases. Persecution and reproach are a blessed burden; when your soul loves Jesus it is a light thing to suffer for him, and, therefore, never by any cowardly retirement or refusal to profess your faith, evade your share of this honorable load. Woe unto those who say, “I will never be a martyr.” No rest is sweeter than the martyr’s rest. Woe unto those who say, “We will go to heaven by night along a secret road, and so avoid the shame of the cross.” The rest of the Christian is found not in cowardice but in courage; it lies not in providing for ease but in the brave endurance of suffering for the truth. The restful spirit counts the reproach of Christ to be greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt; he falls in love with the cross, and counts the burden light, and so finds rest in service, and rest in suffering. Note that well.