The Invitation

invitation etiquette

 Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30, Common English Bible).”

A few days ago the passage above was part of my daily devotion. Sort of like my post “Bury the Junk” this passage and one thing the author of my devotion said, just won’t leave me alone.

My devotion said, “This verse is an invitation. We can come to Christ as we are, weary and burdened, and He promises to give us rest. What a gift!” (One: A Daily Devotional, Barbour Books: Uhrichsville Ohio, 2015, p. 17).

I don’t know who the person was who wrote this little devotion, but this author is dead on. It is a gift to us. Think on that for a little bit. No matter how tired we happen to be, no matter how worn out, no matter how beat up we feel and no matter how unworthy we might feel, Jesus still invites us to rest in Him.

I also don’t care who you are, we all need rest and we especially need Divine rest. I really don’t see this a physical rest, this is a spiritual rest. But, I do believe we can draw a parallel from the physical body.

When I was in the Navy I went for a week on about one hour of sleep per day. It wasn’t by choice. When we were steaming in a task force, visual communications got busy. If we were by ourselves at sea we didn’t have much to do. If you can’t see other ships at see, visual communications will do no good. But, in this case we were in a task force and my ship was the flag ship. We were very busy and as a result, I was working from lunch to dinner and from midnight to breakfast. But to further complicate matters, if the ship goes to general quarters (battle stations), everyone is working. For about five days, every time I was off work, we went to general quarters. By the end of five days I was seeing things out on the horizon that weren’t really there. I was in a total daze. While I was at breakfast, I broke out in a cold sweat and blacked out. I am told I got up from the table. Took my food tray to the scullery, went to my berthing compartment, undressed and went to bed. I remember none of that. I don’t remember anything until the crew that was at work came down to wake us up for the afternoon watch.

All of that is to say, my physical body went without rest for a significant period of time. The result was, I hit a wall and my body shut down. We may not shut down quite that way when we become spiritually exhausted but the result  is much the same. We move in slow motion. We lose interest in many things. we feel just as tired as if it were physical and we feel physically beat up. It is a mental and emotional drain and that leads to a physical drain that matches. In that way, to be spiritually exhausted is even worse than being physically exhausted. I can be happy, I can be joyful even when I am physically wiped out. It is incredibly difficult to do that when we are spiritually drained.

And yet, Jesus says to us, “Come to me.” I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty incredible. And, when I come to Him, I really do find my rest. Thanks be to God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,


Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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