Take My 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.” NIV
Jesus has a great heart for those who are weary and burdened down.
Of all the people He encountered, I think He was closest to those who were struggling with life and the challenges it brought. He went out of His way to search for those who were lost and hurting. He was always open to their cries, always sensitive to their needs, always looking to encourage and inspire them with the love of God. He understood their tears, their fears, their pain, their anguish, their disappointment, their broken dreams and dashed hopes. It was that compassion that led Him to the cross.
We often miss what this part of Jesus’ ministry means for us. We know about the amazing gift of salvation that came as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary but we need to know that Calvary encompassed so much more. In Christ, through the cross, Jesus broke every bondage and lifted every burden. And now He calls everyone to come and receive forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration, and be set free from all those things that hold us back, pull us down or keep us from reaching for God’s best. He doesn’t want us to be saved but burdened down; His desire is to see us saved and soaring, living a life that reflects the greatness and goodness of God. It’s not about avoiding hardship or trials; its about the mastery of life itself through Christ.
To this end, Jesus invited everyone to be “yoked” [to be joined] to Him instead of being yoked to the ways, things, ideas, promises of a world that has gone terribly wrong, a world that has got all its priorities mixed up. He’s saying that He knows what will bring us true peace, true joy, true significance, true worth. He’s saying that He has ways to work things out, to see us through, to help us overcome, ways we know nothing about. He is saying that He alone knows how to unlock the true potential within us all. And He invites us to put our trust in Him, in His methods, in His ways, to journey with Him as we live our lives.
“Come to me,” is an invitation to come, and keep coming, with all the things that burden us down, cause us anxiety and worry, with our hurts and disappointments and receive from Him peace, assurance, comfort and strength. It’s not a program or a method but a relationship with the Author of Life, the Ancient of Days, the Great Shepherd.
Getting yoked with Jesus is a process. Its a passage of discovery, of learning and experiencing in the midst of trials and disappointments. But as we reach out to Him, as we begin to learn to walk with Him, He helps us, step by step, to see things as He does, to release our cares to Him, to lean on Him, to trust His wisdom, to depend upon His power. And more and more as we are yoked to Him that peace that surpasses all understanding begins to fill our hearts. The challenging moments and trying times still come but somehow there’s a quiet assurance that we can face them, that no matter what happens we are not alone, not helpless anymore, that unseen hands are at work, that we are sustained by the “unforced rhythms of [His] grace,” and that it will be well.
As I have journeyed in the faith over these last 30 years, I have read about or met some truly amazing people of faith [you can read about the story of Annie Flint Johnston, for example, at my website, www.ariseambassadors.com]. They were mostly ordinary people from different times, different backgrounds and different circumstances, but they all had this one thing in common – when they yoked themselves to Christ, they discovered strength they never had, peace they never knew, hope that never dimmed and joy that never left. It may not have been an easy life, as the world defines easy, but it was an amazing life.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)