A Word from Pastor Stephen – March 28, 2020
“’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 RSV)
Even before this pandemic hit us and caused our daily life to be thrown into turmoil and confusion, many of you were already carrying around a heaven burden. Now this has added a whole new level of uncertainly and fear. I know the Bible tells us that God won’t burden us with anything we can’t handle, but some of us are reaching our limit.
When Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you,” it sure does sound like he is trying to add to my already overwhelming load. Please don’t give me something else to carry. I have enough to deal with already. A yoke is actually a board that has two arches in it that you put over two cattle or oxen so they can pull the cart or plow.
The yoke actually cuts the burden in half. The load is now shared between the two animals. The load is half as heavy. So when Jesus tells us to take that yoke, what he is telling us is that he is going to share our challenges and problems with us. He is going to take the burdens on himself and bear them with us.
We are still going to have to walk the path we are on. Our burdens are not magically going to disappear, but we have Jesus to help us carry them. We can allow Jesus to set the pace and the direction. We really can find rest for our souls. The journey is always better with a companion.
Here is how the Message Bible translates this beautiful passage. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG).