Saturday, January 10, 2009

the easy yoke

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

I am learning to love the paradoxes of relationship with Jesus. The above verse has been weaving its way through my thoughts and prayers this week and it is full of beautiful paradox. What could be heavier than a yoke, and yet Jesus says his yoke is easy. A burden is heavy and cumbersome by definition, and somehow the 'burden' of life with Jesus is light.

I love that Jesus doesn't shy away from words like 'yoke' and 'burden.' His way is like a yoke, but it is an easy yoke. There is a burden that comes with following Him, but it is a light burden. Hard, but easy. Heavy, but light. How does this work? Hmmm.

Exercising regularly, eating well, and getting enough sleep is hard. Being healthy makes life easier.

Disciplining kids is hard. Having well-behaved kids makes life easier.

Doing the work to plant a garden is hard. Having all the ingredients for a great salad in the backyard makes life easier.

And so it goes in our spiritual lives. There are times when we feel the burden of living God's way, when it would be easier and more comfortable to do as we please. But this burden comes with a promise, or rather several promises. Peace. Blessing. Provision. Rest. Walking daily under the yoke of God's way of life is made easy in light of these promises. I can make the small yet difficult decisions of everyday life with Christ, knowing that in reality He has done the hard work for me on the cross. In the power of Christ crucified and resurrected the promises are made good, the victory is won, and the burden is lifted. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift (2 Cor 9:15)!

1 comment:

Phil said...

At our church, our Pastor has been going through the Gospels and primarily Matthew for the last six months. I remember him talking about the “light” part and he said a more accurate translation would be “custom fit”. Then the line becomes, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is custom fit.” This takes on a pretty different message. Each “burden” was made for each one of us.

I don’t think that means God gives people cancer but I think it does refer to the difficulty of taking up our cross daily was designed specifically for each one of us and is not always the same from person to person.