“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)
A beautiful text, full of encouragement. But… When your burden is heavy, or your body is anxious, this text may feel impossible or too far away from you, or it may feel like another to-do item on the never-ending list. You may hear this text and think, “Well, that would be lovely. But I haven’t got a clue on how to take Jesus’ yoke on, nor am I sure I want to.”
Let’s take a look at this. What does it mean to share a yoke? And, What does it mean specifically to take on the yoke of Jesus?
Sharing a yoke in farming is when beasts of burden are bound into a plank and share the burden they’ve been tasked with. Often when we think of this, we think of oxen being yoked together and plowing a field. The work is much lighter, easier, and more pleasant to complete when shared.
The yoke of Jesus is not a yoke of burden – of more requirements that must be met – it is a yoke of relationship. It is not a yoke placed upon us, but it is a yoke we can chose to be bound to. One that Jesus freely offers us. This yoke doesn’t make more work for us. Instead, when we bind ourselves to the yoke of Jesus, Jesus also binds himself to us (if you are baptized – even as an infant – Jesus has already bound Himself to you), and He walks with us on our journey, sharing in our burdens, making the burdens lighter, easier, and more pleasant to complete.
OK. I can hear some of you saying, “Well, that’s really great. But I haven’t got a clue how to let go of my burdens or how to share them with Jesus.” Here’s the trick: Praise Him – especially with music and song – even if you “can’t” sing. When you are feeling a heavy burden upon you and can’t figure out how to get it to lift, praise God with music. As you sing and move your body, layers of the heaviness will lift off of you as you bind yourself to Jesus with your songs of praise.
Don’t take my word for it, give it a whirl yourself! Turn on some worship and praise music, and enter into praising God with your voice and heart. Spend 10 minutes in God’s presence and see how He changes you!