Are you super up-to-date on the purposes of old fashioned farming equipment? Apparently, I’m not.
Think about a yoke. What comes to mind? If you’re anything like me, you probably think of oxen and being weighed down with a heavy load. But, that’s just not accurate.
Why am I asking you to search for your definition of a yoke? Because of these words from Jesus:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. (Matthew 11:28-30)”
If a yoke is something that weighs you down, these verses are only mildly comforting. A slightly easier yoke? Yay?
But thankfully, I have had it wrong all these years. Yokes weren’t what weighed oxen down during farming – they were what allowed them to shoulder the load.
In other words, Jesus gives us a new way of handling life.
Right now, I’m reading The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. In speaking of Jesus’ easy yoke he writes:
People all over the world – outside the church and in – are looking for an escape, a way out from under the crushing weight to life this side of Eden. But there is no escaping it. The best the world can offer is a temporary distraction to delay the inevitable or deny the inescapable.
That’s why Jesus doesn’t offer us an escape. He offers us something far better: “equipment.” He offers his apprentices a whole new way to bear the weight of our humanity: with ease. At his side. Like two oxen in a field, tied shoulder to shoulder. With Jesus doing all of the heavy lifting. At his pace. Slow, unhurried, present to the moment, full of love and joy and peace. An easy life isn’t an option; an easy yoke is.
Life is hard and exhausting – there’s no way around it. But Jesus, King Jesus, gives us a new way to shoulder the load, to become truly human, to not be crushed by this world and all the heartache it brings.
Go to him, all who are weary and burdened. He will give you rest.