Daily Readings: Genesis 29-30, Proverbs 3, Matthew 11
“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.”
Take a moment to think back over your past 24 hours. What burdens weighed you down, even if just for a brief period of time? What made you weary?
It is so easy in life to dwell on our burdens. It is extremely natural to focus on challenges we are currently facing, frustrations in our life, things that could potentially go wrong, or chaos we see in our world. When this is the posture of my heart, weary is by far the best word to describe it!
When focused on these mental burdens, weariness always follows. And when we feel this sense of weariness our society has taught us to withdraw. We want to mentally check out, to just stop thinking. We grab our phones, click on the TV, turn on the video games, stream Netflix, etc. We want to forget our burdens.
Jesus gives a beautiful alternative today. He says, “Take my yoke upon you…you will find rest for your soul.”
“Yoke” is a reference to a device that allows two oxen or cattle to pull a plow together and share the work. When you look at a picture of oxen pulling a plow with a yoke on their necks, it is such a beautiful picture of what Christ has in mind for his relationship with us! Jesus doesn’t say, “Forget your problems. Just give them to me and I will handle all of them!” He wants to be there, side by side with us, to help us tackle our burdens. He wants us to welcome his yoke onto our neck so that he can help us as we handle the heavy lifting!
Again in Proverbs 3:3-6 we read today:
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
When life gets challenging, what do we do with our yoke? What do we choose to place on our necks when stress rises in our life? What do we choose to write on the tablet of our hearts in these moments?
Do we look to social media for help? Do we write on the tablet of our hearts a YouTube video, a TED talk, or a motivational post on Instagram? Do we lean on our own understanding?
We read in Proverbs, and hear today from Jesus, that there is a far better way.
When these moments arise over the next week, I want to take that yoke around my neck and allow Jesus to take the other half upon his. I want to allow him to bind love and faithfulness around my neck so that they never leave me. I want to lean on his understanding and truth, not my own, and submit all of my ways to him.
This doesn’t mean that our burdens vanish and we no longer need to handle those things in our life that might cause us stress. It doesn’t mean our responsibilities and challenges suddenly evaporate. That is not what the Bible promised.
Instead we are promised that, in allowing Jesus to walk side by side with us sharing our burden, our paths will be made straight and we will find rest for our souls.
Sign me up for that!
Thought to ponder
When I am weary and feeling burdened, where do I typically turn? How can I better allow Jesus to lighten my load and make my paths straight?