MATTHEW 11:28-30: “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” NLT
OBSERVATION: How do you feel about the path your life is on? As we come to the end of another year, and as we turn the page on two very difficult years for us personally and our nation, what path do you envision for your life in the coming year?
Everyone in life will experience times of weariness as they travel down the path of life. Sometimes the circumstances of life just seem to stack up, one upon another, until we are trudging through life like an animal carrying a heavy load. At times the burden seems too much to handle. We may find ourselves at the point of giving up. It is at these very moments that we hear Jesus say to us,
- “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
This is such a wonderful promise, such a wonderful invitation. However, how do we lay all of our burdens at the feet of Jesus and find true rest? Is it as easy as saying a simple prayer or is something more involved? How many times have I come to the altar and prayed, only to pick up the same heavy load once again?
The first thing we need to do is choose our yoke. This sounds strange in our culture but it was easily understood in an agrarian culture. Those who heard Jesus were ranchers and farmers. The yoke was a necessary part of their daily lives. Without a yoke, their wagons would not move and their fields would not be plowed. Selecting the right yoke was key to productivity!
- “Take my yoke upon you.”
We are all yoked to something in life. It may be another person, this world’s values, or our idea of what life should be like. If we are yoked to any one of these we will find ourselves on the pathway to disappointment and we will be picking up life’s burdens along the way. If we are going to experience the rest that Jesus has to offer we must choose His yoke!
Jesus’ yoke is His good and perfect will for our life. It will not chafe, it will not add to our burden, it will fit perfectly and allow us to move in the direction of our eternal destiny. Just as you would not fit an ox with a donkey’s yoke, so we are not to go through life with a yoke of our own choosing. Our loving Heavenly Father desires to lead us and guide us into the best expression of His love for our lives. His yoke is easy. His yoke leads to joy. His yoke puts us on the pathway of peace.
Second, we need to lay down our burden and allow Jesus to teach us. As we take up our cross and follow Him, we will find that His burden is truly light. It might not be easy but His grace will always be there to empower us. As we walk in the power of the Lord, we discover that He will never allow us to be tempted above that which we are able to endure and that we will be able to withstand all the attacks of the enemy.
- “Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He never drives His sheep. He leads them to green pastures. He restores their soul. He refreshes them will the water of the Holy Spirit. And, He guides them in the pathway of righteousness for His name’s sake. When we are led by our Good Shepherd we walk in the assurance that,
- “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” Psalms 23:4 NLT
This is the rest the writer of Hebrews speaks about. Rest is not the cessation of activity. Biblical rest is allowing Jesus to lead us and teach us through every moment of our life. It is walking in the power of His strength. It is putting on the custom-made yoke of His love as He leads us on the pathway of righteousness (right living, our destiny), for His name’s sake!
Lord, as I look forward to a New Year, a year that is filled with unexpected twists and turns, a year for which I hold new hopes and dreams, I surrender to Your yoke of love. Lead me, guide me, teach me, and remind me each and every moment that,
- “For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
In Jesus Name!