Come to me all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
I have constantly checked through different versions of the bible for Matthew 11:28. The word ‘labour’ is common in most of them. So I wondered why the bible is always talking about labour until I found out the big difference between work and labour.
Work is a task you do, willingly and passionately, to earn a living or to achieve a desired purpose. Labour, on the other hand, is the hard work you are forced to do either by your superior or by circumstances surrounding you.
Kinds of labourers
The truth is, there are only a few people who are workers, especially in this part of the world. Many workers are not really workers but labourers.
The illustration in 2 Tim. 2:19-20 can be used to explain this concept:
In a large house there are not only things made of gold and silver, but also things made of wood and clay. Some things are used for special purposes, and others are made for ordinary jobs. 2 Tim. 2:19-20 NCV
In every big firm or organization, there are not only workers but also labourers, some are unto honour while some are unto dishonour.
Workers are used unto honour while labourers unto dishonour.
In every organization, there is always a tree of hierarchy. Most times, labourers are not included in the list because it is believed that they are ordinary labourers. In some rare cases when they are included, they are always going to be the first from the bottom.
Labourers are usually being referred to as casual or auxiliary workers; the real workers are known as members of staff. Labourers do heavy tasks but get little pay.
They are always backward and being treated as slaves. Their lives are open to reproach and embarrassment from their bossy superiors at any time.
See, there must be a proper documentation file for each worker in a company, but the names of labourers are often omitted or written with pencil, meaning that they can be fired anytime without warning or even notice.
Workers work in their office with sophisticated gadgets which make them feel at home but labourers work under the sun and rain. The life of a labourer is a life of struggle and hardship, poverty and dryness. Look at how The Message puts 2 Tim. 2:20:
In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets — some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage.
…others to take out the garbage! Did you see that? That’s the work of labourers …to take out the trash. Workers eat the meat, labourers pack the bones.
Labourers can’t live independently. They always depend on people, and most times the people they unwillingly depend on, for their survival, are their taskmasters.
They are parasites who can’t even feed their family without begging. The life of a labourer is a life of deficiency that needs the intervention of divine power.
That’s why Jesus says, come to me all you that labour.
Now, that was only but an analogy because, the labour in which the Lord is talking about isn’t anything physical exertion or of human energy. This kind of labour goes beyond carrying a heavy load on your head or your shoulder. It speaks more of the invisible and the inward struggle and emotion of a person that desperately needs the helping hand of a saviour.
All of us were labourers by birth. We were born in sin and we grew up to struggle with it. Even at times, in addition to our sins, or maybe as a result of the same, we have emotional instability and discomfort, problems and challenges that only the supernatural power can help us to lift. Jesus has come to this purpose, hence, He said, come to me all you that labour…
Labourers of Emotions
As a result of hard work and struggle, and recurrent embarrassment by wicked bosses, emotions of labourers are affected negatively. They then become labourers of emotions. They are always weak and sick in their soul, down in the heart and filled with sadness and sorrow.
Their lives are prone to unnecessary anger, unstoppable regret and uncontrollable lament. This always led them to become drug addicts, smokers, drunkards and troublemakers.
Labourers of emotions are also people suffering from internal discomfort. The brokenhearted and the afflicted. Jesus is saying, come to Me all you that labours under emotional discomfort.
In Luke 4:18, Jesus says,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed. NKJV
Give yourself not to the thought of who or what it is that has brought you down; come to Him who can lift you and bring healing to your troubled heart. Come to me all you labourers of emotions, and I will give you rest.
Labourers of Ignorance
These are the people who are deeply committed to ignorance. There are basic things which anyone in his right mind should know. But when someone fails to accept the simple truth, he is said to be a labourer of ignorance.
For instance, some people refer to themselves as atheists, claiming there’s no God. Someone formed and some people believed the theory of evolution which says all living things develop gradually from some tiny molecules over some period of many years. They failed to realise that even if that was true, then those tiny molecules must have been created by a higher power.
Atheists believe there is no God, evolutionists also believe there is no God or if He ever exists, He has nothing to do with the creation of man. All these people, even though, are highly educated with the worldly wisdom, are labourers of ignorance.
Some religious people out of their ignorance think no man can ever come close to becoming a child of God. They stick to the belief that God is not born and He has no child.
But the Bible makes it so clear that Jesus is the begotten Son of God, the Father; and that He, that is Jesus, gives power to everyone who believes in Him to become a child of God.
Why is it difficult for these people to believe in the existence of God? It’s because they’ve given up their lives to ignorance. However, Jesus is calling out today saying, come to me all you that labours in ignorance and I will give you rest.
Labourers of childbirth
When a woman is in labour, she is ready to give birth to what she had always carried, what she had been loaded with. Labourers of childbirth are people who are heavily loaded with many ideas, godly visions and dreams that are yet to see the light of the day.
They are carriers of new inventions, innovations and wonders that are still in the womb. These are people with new things in them struggling to hatch and come out gloriously, but one way or the other, they are being hindered and prevented by some forces.
These people need the help of the divine deliverer to come to their delivery. Except we come to the saviour, our labour will remain forever, and we’d never live to see that beautiful thing that is enclosed right in us. Unless we come to the Lord, we will go to our graves with our bright shining glory.
Some people would have been a great instrument in God’s hand and a mouth-piece for their generation but some forces have prevented them from coming to the saviour and they went to their graves altogether with their wonders in them.
These people are not only debtors to themselves but to their generations too.
Labourers of sin
No one can ever dabble into sin and come out of it easily. This is because sin is a master. Once you venture into a sin, you will lose your power of self-control into the hand of that sin and the same will lord itself over your life, control your emotions, have power over your decisions and manage your entire life for you.
For instance, the best way to conquer fornication is to run away from it completely. But if you will bring yourself down to obey it once, that sin will trap you down and lord itself over your life once and for all.
That’s why Romans 6:16 says
Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. NLT
Labourers of sin therefore are those people who have lost their control, dignity, will and emotions to sin. They are the people who are not happy with their sinful life but couldn’t help themselves out of their sins.
They are people who want to serve God but sin is ruling them against their desires, most times the more they try the more they are defeated.
Some of this category of labourers have made decisions and have determined several times to rise against the sin in their lives just to find themselves in the mess of that sin again.
Here is a truth you must grab: to overcome sin in your life, you need more than decisions and determinations. You need God, first and foremost, to deal with that sin.
Once God steps into your life your sins will be defeated. It is when God comes to stay in your heart that your decision and determination can be fruitful. If you are this kind of a labourer, The Lord is saying to you, come to me all you that labour in sin.
These are the people whose life is not only dominated by sin but also by the devil and demons. They are the people whose lives have been influenced by demonic powers.
Devil uses them against their will to achieve his own selfish and destructive purpose on earth. They are representatives and ambassadors of Satan on earth.
They do everything with their utmost exertion to populate hell, the kingdom of their master, the devil. All witches, wizards, those who speak with the dead, people with familiar spirit, marine spirit, worshippers of thunder, iron, star, angels etc. fall into this category.
If you are in this category, God loves you and He wants to deliver you from the bondage of Satan. Satan has nothing good for you. He’s only using you against the very you. He will finish you one day if you will not run away from him and come to Jesus.
Then Jesus said, Come to Me all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28 NKJV