I don’t know what burden you’re carrying. I don’t know what’s weighing you down. But I do know the answer.Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 RSV).
For many years I never understood that verse, because I didn’t know what a yoke was. When Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you,” it sounded to me like he was going to give me something else to deal with. I’ve got a heavy enough burden, Lord. I don’t need to take your problems on me.
A yoke is actually a board that has two arches in it that you put over two cattle so they can pull a cart.
The value of a yoke is that it halves the load. Without a yoke, one cow’s got to pull that entire load by itself. But if you yoke up the cow with another cow, then the two cows pull the load together, and the load is half as heavy.
When Jesus says to take his yoke upon you, he’s not saying he’s going to give you his problems. Jesus doesn’t have any problems! He’s saying he’s going to share your problem. He’s going to share your load. He’s going to take your stress on himself and bear it with you.
He says three verbs in this verse: come, learn, and take. Jesus says, “Come to me. Team up with me. Then, learn how I do it. Take on a lighter load. This is going to reduce your stress. This is going to make it easier for you to navigate.”
When you’re yoked with Christ, you move together with him. You move in the same direction and at the same speed. And, you move in the right direction and at the right speed.
Talk It Over
- Why is it sometimes difficult to accept help from someone who wants to share your burdens and make it easier on you?
- Do you have people in your life who are willing to do that for you? How are you offering yourself to others to help reduce their stress?
- God already knows all about your stress. How will you show him that you are ready to take on his yoke?