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…  Matthew 11:28-29a

The best running advice I ever received was given to me before I became a runner. For years, I secretly dreamed of being a runner, wanting to be one of those people who could jog down the street while simultaneously talking to a friend. Movies and TV made it look easy. Fun. Meanwhile, I had trouble holding a conversation just walking up a flight of stairs.

I had friends who were runners. Sometimes I even tried to follow their advice. Still, I failed. Until the day I received the ultimate running advice. “I’m starting a new training program,” one of my running friends said. “You should come.” Her invitation was all it took. For the first time, someone was not telling me to “Go, try this.” They were telling me “Come, let me show you.”

I joined a community of runners who, like me, had never run before. Week after week, we ran next to each other. We encouraged one another. We listened to our mentors who pushed us a little farther each time. We laughed in amazement that we were doing it – we were becoming runners. Until that moment, I had been doing it all wrong, trying to go it alone, when what I needed most was to come alongside someone else.

That’s exactly what Jesus tells us. 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… Jesus calls us to Himself so we may learn from Him. He wants us to yoke ourselves to Him and try to match Him, stride for stride, as we navigate this life He’s given us.

God also brings us into fellowship with other believers so we may encourage one another. Physical training requires community, and so does spiritual training. Regardless of where we are on our Christian journey, we should not go alone. Look around. Who can you come alongside and learn from? Who can you tap on the shoulder and teach?

God invites each one of us, and we should in turn extend his invitation to others: “Come … learn from me.”

(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com.)

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JanetBeagleJanet Beagle, Ph.D. serves as director of graduate admissions for Purdue University and is a writer, a Bible study teacher, and a student of God’s Word. Ever since she completed her first 5K race, she likes to call herself a runner. She also makes time for important cross-training, such as eating other people’s cooking and hiking with her dog, Marly. Read more of Janet’s Christian reflections at www.mustardpatch.org, and follow her @MiniMustard.

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