"Then Jesus said, 'Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light." Matthew 11:28-30

 

I think most of us understand the above Scripture in the way of Jesus' invitation to bring to Him all of our cares, worries, anxieties and problems, and there is that truth in it. Yet there is more, much more to it than that. I am seeing that the burdens He invites us to bring to Him are not only those things outside of us that are burdens, but those within us as well. Things, attitudes, habits, temperament and personality traits that can and do, make us a burden to ourselves.....and many others as well.

In a wonderful little book titled simply, Praying With Jesus, writer Jared Pingleton uses the example of Jesus calling to a person whose heart towards others can be distinctly unloving, something that all too often can characterize all of us. For Pingleton, what he hears Christ say is this, "I consistently love those around you, but I often do so alone - would you come join Me?" If we can see and hear His words in this way, the meaning of Matthew 11 can take on a whole new, life changing meaning. We can begin to see His "yoke" as not only making life more bearable, but more rich as well.

 

Our culture has gone very far from the rural roots it has sprung from. The picture of yoking two animals and how it is done is usually lost on us. In practice, the farmer would always yoke a less experienced animal with a much more experienced one. Then, as they pulled the load together, the less experienced one would learn from the more experienced. And while this was happening, the yoke would be fitted so that the less experienced one would not feel the brunt of the load, or the chaffing and rubbing that an ill-fitted yoke would bring. It's a beautiful picture of just how He works so lovingly and patiently with us......that is, if we will come to Him in the first place. We can be so very stubborn in that area...can't we? Can't I? Can't you?

How willing are we to not only admit those aspects of our lives and personalities that can make us not only a burden to others, but ourselves as well? Admitting them is a step. Bringing them, giving them to Him is a greater one. When it comes to really be loving, merciful, kind, forgiving, patient, consistent, and more, is He the only one "bearing the burden?" Where is it in our lives that we need to join Him, learn of and from Him? We may be asking Him to make us more of all of these, but it is not going to happen if we continue to stand off from Him, allowing Him to bear it all alone. We learn of Him, become more and more like Him in proportion to how much of our lives we surrender to His yoke. It starts at His cross, and continues there. Our flesh fears that greatly, and so, we never really learn of Him, or come to much resemble Him. His cross, His yoke, are pathways to the fullness of His life. He calls us to join Him there. Will we come? Or, will He continue to carry both alone...without us?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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