The Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Eames Rankin, D.D., LL.D., of Charlestown, Massachusetts spoke at Wheaton College Commencement in 1869. The College history includes:
Born in Thornton, New Hampshire on 2 January 1828, Thornton graduated from Middlebury College in 1848. He read theology at Andover, and was pastor of the First Congregational Church of St. Albans, Vermont from 1857 to 1863, and subsequently was pastor of churches in Lowell and Charlestown (Winthrop Church), MA, Washington, D.C., and Orange, NJ. Rankin served as chaplain of the United States House of Representatives. He was Professor of Pastoral Theology at Howard University, and served as Howard University's President from 1889 to 1903. Rankin died in 1904.He wrote numerous hymns. One is titled “Out of My Darkness Into Thy Light” but I know it as “Jesus I come.” Another has but one title, “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.” But my favorite is the graphic above – “Tell It To Jesus.” That’s so very biblical:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 KJV)
Please note that neither labor nor burden are taken out of the equation. We will continue to do both, but we will have rest. The next two verses tell us that we will take on additional responsibilities, too:
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. (Matthew 11:29-30 KJV)
He doesn’t promise to wait until we’re rested, either. Also, we are to accept His yoke without laying down our own. After that we take time to learn of Him. Unfortunately, we too often find His burden confusing because we do not take that next step and learn about Him. He knows all about us, though, and He wants to talk with us. He gave an example in the Lord’s Prayer.
After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)
Go over those verses once more, please, and think about the words, the order and the reasoning behind them. They have meaning and they have power. Did you say them – or did you pray them?
Did we include ourselves when thinking of “earth”, “our debts”, “forgive our debtors,” “us” for both leading and deliverance? Do we really want His kingdom to come? Do we believe He has a kingdom? That He is all power? That all glory belongs to Him? If not, we’re just saying – not praying.
Looking up the word “pray” and you’ll find it 39 times in the KJV gospels. The first six are words Jesus spoke, and the seventh begins a story I love:
And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. (Matthew 14:23 KJV)
Can you imagine how few times He had alone? The disciples were out in a boat while he prayed, alone. A storm rose – they say that can happen quickly on the Sea of Galilee. He came walking to them and the men feared that sight as much as the storm. Peter called to join Him and started out, failing, calling out “Lord, save me!” Jesus stopped the failure, provided the salvation:
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him,
That must have been a wondrous thing for Peter to experience – Jesus taking his hand in salvation! Awesome – until the next part of the verse:
and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
(Matthew 14:31 KJV)
Peter told Jesus he wanted to walk out to Him; Jesus said, “Come”; Peter took first steps, then feared instead of focusing on and talking to Jesus. Don’t blame Peter until we can do better, right?