The Easy Yoke

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.

YokeThe 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.

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22 Responses to The Easy Yoke

  1. Tim Riter says:

    David, a very nice, and biblical, twist on a familiar passage. And, one that works. Thanks!

  2. Tom Schermtizler says:

    Love this, David! Love hearing from you! And say, can you “blip” me your email address … after you’ve moved, I haven’t been able to get in contact with you. I have some exciting things to share that I think will encourage and lift you up.

  3. Mitch Harrison says:


    This was such a great reminder on my first day back at work! Thanks for the time and the conversation this summer. The mantras are becoming a helpful practice for me!

    This week’s are:

    – Fall in step with Jesus (from your blog)

    – His time, his pace.

    – All you have in store for me is good.

    Thanks my friend.


  4. Thank you, David, for the wise and beautiful words. Your advice has reminded me how crucial it is to stay in step with my Lord. Sometimes without even realizing it, we lag behind or run ahead. Keeping in step with Jesus, walking in the grace of his easy yoke, will become my new daily prayer. Blessings!

  5. Fanny Nyamutora says:

    David, you amaze me each time I read your writing. A simple passage is made more clearer than before. Keep the good work.

  6. Phil McKinley says:

    About a decade ago, you may remember a pharmacist from Kansas City who was sent to prison because he defrauded cancer patients (watered down their chemo treatments for profit). One of his patients, Cathy, the daughter of a gal from our church by the name of Peggy, died as a result of this crime. In her last days, Cathy and Peggy decided that they would not hate. There would be no lawsuit. There would be no grudges. They spent their remaining days together singing hymns and praising God, thanking him for their time together. It seems to this preacher that these two were in step with God. It’s ironic; the congregation sometimes refers to me as a shepherd, but I feel I’m led to a stronger faith through their examples. Who’s leading whom?

  7. Joni Morse says:

    This is absolutely wonderful, and so true. Thank you for the fresh insight!

  8. Dan Owsley says:

    Your teaching here brought a childhood story back to my memory. You may remember, when visiting our farm, that we had a big ox named Dink. Dink had a half brother named Tiny, both born about the same time. (The neighbor’s Charolais bull had jumped the fence into our Jersey herd.) We raised them as pets and My dad attempted to train them to be a “team of oxen”. It didn’t quite work out — Dink was a great study, always eager to do whatever was asked of him, but Tiny had ideas of his own. When pulling a load or going uphill, Tiny always hung back and made Dink do all the work and when going downhill he would always run ahead leaving the work of holding back the load to Dink. Dad tried everything he could think of to make them work together, or rather make Tiny work with Dink. He yelled at him and snapped him with a whip and “goaded” him with a sharp stick and even set up a battery powered device on the ox cart that would give him a little jolt if he fell behind too far. Each of these things worked a little bit for a little while but nothing lasting could be found that would make Tiny share the load. Dad couldn’t find any pleasure in a team of oxen that refused to be a team. He sold Tiny at market and bought mom a new clothes dryer. We kept Dink and worked him single and even trained him to be ridden with a saddle. He grew to be over 2,000 lbs (a big pet). And the moral of the story is…I’ll leave it to you to decide. But, when it comes to your yoke analogy, I often find myself acting like Tiny, causing myself more grief trying to avoid the burden than the burden itself. I should be more like Dink, he never acted like the burden was a burden and by doing the master’s will he saved himself a lot of suffering.

  9. David Timms says:

    Dan, I LOVE your story and application.Thanks. And I can remember watching you ride Dink; holding his tail up and steering him that way. He was the biggest pet I ever saw! 🙂

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