As a church we started the year discerning how we can “Seek the Lord”, as a church and as His people. Seeking the Lord is intentional, deliberate and means spending time with God: in prayer, in community and in His Word. Week by week, we have been memorizing well-loved verses in Scripture; verses that reveal God’s character and emphasize His promises. And today is our 25th and final memory verse: Matthew 11:28 (I’ve added on verse 29 and 30):
“Come to me, all who labour 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)
Tired! Weary! Exhausted! Depleted! Burdened! Is that you? There are times when the limits of our mortality overwhelm our intentions, commitments, and abilities. In our quest for significance, we chase so many things. But there is only one true quest for significance that leads to rest: we must surrender all of those burdens to Jesus and trust him to supply our significance. Why is it so hard for us to come to Jesus? Why is it so hard to put down our burdens and come to him?
Basically, a yoke is a piece of wood that is used to hold two animals together, usually oxen, to help them share the load in pulling a till or a buggy of some sort. The key here is that the yoke allows the animals to support each other in pulling the heavy weight.
As we live our lives, we are yoked by many things. We might be yoked with a personal decision that is weighing heavy on us. We might even be yoked with a spouse who helps us in the hard times. We can even be yoked to sin. No matter how you look at it, we are yoked to something, whether good or bad.
Jesus tells us to come and take his yoke and we will find rest. Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t say he will take our burdens and attach his yoke to it as we stand by and watch. No, he takes us under his yoke and carries those burdens with us along the way. In turn, he takes the majority of the burden and makes it “light” for us. We also “learn” from Jesus as we carry the burden with him. This allows us to learn to change from the inside instead of repeating the same wrong things over and over. Is there something pulling you down that you haven’t given to Jesus today? Take off your yoke and join Jesus in lightening the load. Shalom!