“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
The word burdened—phortizo—means the load of an animal or vessel, to overload or overburden with ceremony or spiritual anxiety. Since it is written in the perfect passive participle, perhaps a better way to write this is “is being burdened.” Wow, does that hit home! How many times have I felt overburdened for my personal capacity? Simply put, how many times have I been on overload? Sometimes I burden myself and sometimes I’m burdened by the expectations of others.
The ceremony that first comes to mind in relationship to phortizo is that ceremonial self we put on when we act like church ladies instead of ourselves. Wearing a mask is hard work. Pretending to be faith-filled women of God when we’re falling apart on the inside is travail. I once heard what I now believe to be a false teaching, “Fake it until you make it.” Catchy, perhaps, but it’s not God’s road to growth. We can also be overburdened by our attempts to please God through works righteousness. The spiritual anxiety we feel when we doubt God’s love for us and His perfect provision for every situation is exhausting! We need to learn to rest. More about rest in the next post.