“Take up your cross and follow Me,” says He.
“My yoke is easy and My burden light,” is oft soft counsel.
The full blown version goes like this. “Come to me, all 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” (Matt. 11:28-30).
So, let’s break this down as we lay it down. First, He says come. “Come to me” is what He beckons. Let’s go by letting go. How do we do that? How might this look?
We come in our thoughts. We come in our sitting. We come in our listening. We come by being. We come by being who we are because in His image we are created. So, nobody can show up but us. We can kneel, stand, or sit before Him in the silence. That’s all He desires, to come as we are.
Why do we come? He wants to give us rest. It doesn’t say He desires to chase us down and put some heavy burden on us that is weight bearing. Au contraire. Come…get rest.
He speaks of a yoke and how easy it will be to carry. Ever wonder about that? Visually, the first thing that comes to my mind is an image of a plow horse — heavy, laden, working hard! But He promises the exact opposite. He promises that the burden is light and easy. Why? Because He says He is gentle and humble of heart. And since He is describing His own heart, we can believe that what He says is true.
Next, He says, “Learn from Me.” He didn’t say we have to map out a new curriculum. It doesn’t say that we need to earn a degree in theological studies (although He calls some to that). It says we can learn from Him, and this indicates He’s the one who is teaching.
Come…get rest…a yoke that is easy…learn from Him. And what do we get out of the deal? More rest! Why? Well, just before He arrests us with the news that we get more rest, it goes even deeper. This time He says we not only get rest, but rest for our souls. This rest for our souls does not bring mere energy, but rather, abiding joy.
To make His point, he clarifies for a second time at the end of the verse, “For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
So let’s review:
He who is gentle and humble desires that you not only rest in His promises, but in Him. There is no shame in this game…no hidden agenda. He merely desires that you to allow Him to carry.
Why not take Him up on the offer? Cross over His shoulders it was laid because the burdens are far too heavy for mere man.
Once we take Him up on His promises, we will better see to that which we are called. No more distractions as we look into the face of Christ rather than down at the weight of our bedraggled shortcomings.
He is our weight bearer. Amen.
Kathleen Kjolhaug lives on the family homestead outside of Clearbrook with her husband Pete. She enjoys writing about family life and brings humor into the sacred moments of everyday living.
Theology in the Trenches appears in several local newspapers throughout Minnesota. Kathleen can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org