28 “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. 30 My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”
Every summer we went to a large farm fair in the Berkshires that had an oxen pull. These great animals were yoked together and their owners would compete to see which team could pull the most weight with the least effort. Each year the same oxen team won and it wasn’t the farmer that yelled at and pushed his team or even the one that cracked the whip. It was the farmer who spoke quietly and gave the oxen guidance and encouraging words at just the moment the weight needed to be moved. The oxen pulled together at his command and with little strain, a weight greater than both the oxen’s weight was moved. Everyone marveled that such large animals could be led by gentleness instead of force. But this farmer cared for his oxen, and in turn, they trusted him.
Many of us are struggling hard and carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. The daily grind wears us down, but more than that, we’ve spent a life time of trying to measure up to others’ expectations, or feeling like failures in our relationships. We daily miss the mark and then we beat ourselves up. No wonder we feel like there’s no place to lay that weight down.
Jesus calls us to experience God’s grace. Gently, humbly God places the yoke of love and forgiveness on our shoulders, inviting us to lay down our burden, to stop struggling, to trust. We are not met with judgement, but with total forgiveness and acceptance as children of God. We no longer have to try to do it all on our own. Jesus shares our every burden, every step of the way, and in Jesus we find our perfect rest.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
When you’re yoked to Jesus, your day looks brighter. You aren’t carrying the weight of the world alone on your shoulders, the burden is shared and lighter. You follow Christ’s lead and you learn. The Kin(g)-dom work gets done, and you lie down at night in peace and rest.
Today, imagine that you are yoked by love to Jesus. Imagine being that close all day, yoked shoulder to shoulder, pulling the weight as a team, the burdens made lighter, because you share it together.
Prayer: Gentle Jesus, we hear you calling to us to come and lay down our burden so we can experience God’s grace. We accept your yoke of love and forgiveness. Teach us and guide us, to find that perfect rest that is in you. Amen.