I don’t know about you but I’m tired.
Not just physically tired-although there are plenty of days when chores done in the Alabama sun beat my body down.
I’m soul weary.
My heart cries out, “No more! I can’t carry a single other burden! I’m buckling under the load!”
He knows that this world is a harsh place for tender hearts. He recognizes that other people heap heavy weights on already laboring souls. He understands that work and worry and even well-doing wear us to a nub.
And He offers a way of escape.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden andoverburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will [a]ease and relieve and [b]refresh [c]your souls.]
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest ([d]relief and ease and refreshment and [e]recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.
Matthew 11: 28-30 AMPC
30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, [f]good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne. ~Jesus
The Pharisees and Sadducees (religious leaders at the time Jesus walked the earth) had overloaded people with rules, rules, rules and obscured the truth of Who God is and what He really wanted from them. They focused solely on outward compliance with man-made additions to God’s law and blinded themselves to the inward attitudes that should be a hallmark of God’s people.
Like us, they wanted boxes to check off.
They wanted lists to maintain.
Above all, they wanted to measure themselves against a standard that made them look good, often at the expense of others.
More importantly, their holier-than-thou lifestyle made regular folks feel like they fell so far short and were so far from the heart of God they didn’t dare ask Him for help.
Jesus said, “Enough!”
He said, “I don’t despise your weakness. I don’t dismiss your pain. Let Me help you take that off and give you a perfectly fitted burden. Yoke your life to Mine and we’ll carry it together.”
The most caring teamster carved the wooden yoke that joined his two oxen precisely to fit their unique shape. He checked it often to see if it was causing pain and he made adjustments when necessary. He yoked well-suited animals one to the other so that the burden was distributed evenly.
Any ill-fitting addition to a creature being asked to do a job makes that job oh, so much more difficult. It wears sore spots and tender places. It guarantees that you won’t get full cooperation nor highest performance.
We have many burdens to bear in this life. Some are of our own making, some are thrust upon us by others. Some are just a function of the fact we live in a world tainted by sin.
Jesus promises that the burden He asks us to bear He will make bearable when we bring it to Him.
Are you weak and heavy laden?
Are you struggling under a load that threatens to undo you?
Have you yoked your life to Christ and asked Him to help you?
He’s waiting for you.
- There are all kinds of burdens in this life. What feels heavy to you right now?
- Have you offered it to Jesus? Have you asked Him to help you bear it?
- Is it hard for you to lean on Jesus? Why or why not?
- Do you ever try to hide your weakness or weariness from others?
- The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were focused more on rules and less on relationship. What’s your faith heritage? Have you been in churches where there was a strong focus on rules? How did that impact your understanding of God?
Father God, I can be like the Pharisees and make up lists of rules I think I need to follow to gain Your approval or at least to make myself look good in the eyes of others.
That’s not helpful for me or anyone else. Give me courage to tear those up.
Teach me Your gentle ways, Jesus. Help me lean into Your love and to yoke my heart to yours.