Have You Fought the Yoke?
Matt. 11:28 ¶ “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Matt. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matt. 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
There was a great promise from Jesus to the people of his day that carries all the way to the present. If we are tired and weary from carrying our burdens, he wants to give us rest. As if we were a beast of burden he says to shake off the yoke we are currently wearing and yoke ourselves to him. Why? Because he wants to help carry our load. He is the one who is gentle and humble and the result is that we will find incredible rest in him. His yoke is like no other and the result is that when we are yoked to him our burden will be light.
The important thing to understand here is that every single person is yoked to something. Most of us allow ourselves to be yoked to the burdens and problems of this world. It means that not only are we carrying heavy burdens, but those burdens become even more difficult because of the type of yoke we are wearing.
This term yoke comes up several times in the Bible. Paul reminds us that we should not be unequally yoked. Can you imagine two animals being yoked together who are not equal in size and strength? What would that look like? I'm guessing that would be a rather awkward picture.
|Copyright © 2005 by Pat McDonough|
I doubt that these two were very successful in doing a lot of plowing. They would constantly be out of step, the yoke wouldn't fit and one would certainly have to bear the greater burden. This was why Paul said it was important not to be unequally yoked.
Jesus said to come and be yoked to him. I remember thinking when I was younger that I didn't want to be yoked to anything. I wanted to have the freedom to do any and everything that I personally wanted. What I didn't realize was that I was already yoked to something; everyone is. No one lives without a yoke. We have yoked ourselves to the things of the world, or we have yoked ourselves to Jesus Christ. For most who think that they are unyoked and running free, they will learn the hard way that they have been yoked to something that they could not even imagine, and it is not very pretty.
Along the way we collect the burdens of life. Many of the burdens we carry can be good burdens, but burdens they are non-the-less. I carry along the love and concern for my husband and my children. Along the way I've added sons-in-law. My love for all of them means that I carry them along as a part of my life. I've added the churches of East Ohio to my burden. I love them, I carry them and there are times that I rejoice in them and others when my heart breaks for them. My burden load keeps growing.
Jesus says to come and yoke ourselves to him. Get rid of the old yoke -- to an uneven yoke -- and connect ourselves to Jesus. Why? Because his yoke is easy and when we are yoked to him the burden becomes light. This is because he is willing to take on him the heaviest part of the load. When we are yoked to him our burdens become his burdens and we can trust him to carry them. I can trust Jesus to love and care for my sweet husband, my daughters, my sons-in-law, my churches and every other detail in my life. I don't have to be worrying about every little thing when I realize that he is in control.
Why would I have ever fought against his yoke? Only because of my own foolish self-centered nature! If we are sick and tired of carrying around our burdens all by ourselves -- it's time to come to Jesus and allow ourselves to be yoked with him. In this we will find freedom.
Lord, thank you for your yoke. Amen.