Jesus said in Matthew 11:29-30, “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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
One may think, I don’t have enough strength to carry my own ‘yoke’, why would I take up one more of those. And of course, some of us who have never grown up on a farm are like, what is a yoke anyway? A yoke is a single piece of wood that attaches two animals together so that they can share the burden as they pull something together. Two is better than one, the load is shared, there is more strength to what is being pulled and ultimately the yoke makes it easier for the animal and not harder. I remember in one of my earlier trips to Zambia, our vehicle got stuck in the mud, in the middle of nowhere. After an hour of trying to get unstuck, we hired a local farmer to bring his oxen, yoked together to pull us out, it worked!
In this verse, Jesus is inviting us to be yoked with him – the invitation is ‘let me help you’, ‘let’s team up together’ and carry this load. If we are not yoked with Jesus, we can be stressed even when we are looking into a bubbling brook in Vermont as we are right in the middle of our problems at home or work. When we are overwhelmed with stress, it is a clear indication that we are trying to control and carry too much of our own strength.
When we are yoked with Jesus we learn from him, he reveals to us his gentle and humble heart – a heart that loves, a heart that is compassionate, merciful, and forgiving. When we are stressed in life it’s tempting to feel the need to shout, quarrel, argue and shame one another – but as Jesus reveals his gentle and humble heart to us, we respond with gentleness and humility – especially when we are stressed – we model our Savior! At this place we will find rest for our Souls.
What are the areas of our life we are trying to control that are causing us stress? Let us try to reconnect with Jesus this week, to bring before him our burdens, and learn from Him so that we will ultimately find rest for our souls!