It’s a strange statement. Jesus calls all who are weary and heavy-laden—that’s a great many of us—to come to Him for rest (Matthew 11:28). I get that. Let’s sit down under a tree together. I can unload my struggles while He listens. I can escape the stress of life for a few minutes while He offers me words of hope. I pause and He gives me peace. That’s the deal.
At least, that’s how I have imagined it.
But the next statement throws me for a loop. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30) Now I’m in a quandary. I don’t want another yoke. I don’t want another burden—light or otherwise.
The invitation, however, has a twist.
The yoke that a farmer placed upon his two oxen meant that they walked and worked together. Neither beast saddled the burden alone. Indeed, one of the animals usually took the lead role and the task of the other was to fall in step. If the two oxen were out of step with each other, it would produce chafing and discomfort. When they moved forward in step, they achieved far more together than alone.
In this enigmatic teaching, Jesus invites us to fall in step with Him, and discover that the Journey is vastly different together. We’re not picking up an additional load. We’re receiving His empowerment for whatever load we currently bear. What a promise!
Feeling stressed? Worn? Chafed by the single yoke that doesn’t fit you well?
Try His yoke on for size—right now. Do it with this simple prayer: “Lord Jesus, help me fall in step with You through this season of my life.” As we make this our prayer ten times today and again tomorrow and again the day after, we might indeed find rest for our souls.
Because of grace.