May 6, 2020
My Yoke is Easy and My Burden is Light (Matthew 11:28-30)
As we navigating the waters of Covid-19 and social distancing, we find ourselves in the 7th week of society shutdown and yet, there seems to be more to do than ever (at least this is the experience I’m finding for myself). Back burner projects have risen up. Things that we weren’t planning on dealing with are now staring us in the face asking us, “You have the time now, so why not get it done?” And with our regular schedules out the door, it’s hard to resist the urge to do more.
Add on the emotional roller coaster we’ve all taken and the ever-moving targets of health and safety in our communities, there’s one word I would use to describe my state at the moment: Tired. I am tired. Some days I’m more tired than others, but overall, I’m emotionally, physical and even spiritual drained some days. So, how does the gospel speak to us in our tiredness?
In that tiredness I hear Jesus say to me “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV).
In the illustration Jesus uses, farmers would take an inexperienced ox and pair him with an older ox and they would be ‘yoked’ together as they pull the plow side by side. This was so the older ox would set the pace for the younger ox, keep him on track and teach him how to do the work properly. The older ox would do the heavy lifting until the younger figured out how to plow along side him and become experienced, not going off course or burning himself out before the work is finished.
In this illustration, Jesus calls us to be the younger ox and He is the one setting the pace, keeping us on track and teaching us the work all the while doing the heavy lifting as we learn alongside him. This is a beautiful picture of Jesus as he teaches us and trains us to do the work of ministry as we minister to our friends, family, coworkers and neighbors. If we are becoming overburdened, burnt out or off-course, we may have tried to take the lead away from Jesus and in doing so we are bearing the brunt of the work that Jesus is willing to take on for us. I would suggest, we haven’t learned to come under Jesus as the mature and older ox.
So, if you’re feeling burdened and heavy, as I have felt some days, I would remind me and you that Jesus is the one who sets the pace and keeps us on track. If we’re feeling heavy, we aren’t allowing the older ox to do his job and teach us because if we did, the yoke would be easy and the burden would be light as we learn how to do the job correctly and well side by side with our Lord. It’s a lesson, apparently, I’m still trying to learn. Be with Jesus, lean on not on your own understanding but allow him to lead you in ways that refresh you and teach you and care for your soul.
Parkland Community Church:
We Exist to Develop People Who Love Jesus and Serve Others.