We live in a world of restlessness where there are many anxieties. With our fast pace of life and long working hours being a norm in our society, things don’t seem to be getting better. Christians like us are not been spared from the above, and we sometimes wonder why we are experiencing this restlessness despite of our identity in Christ. In this familiar passage in the Bible, Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV):
“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.”
In order to understand the above passage, let’s look at the definition of a yoke. A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of an ox or oxen and is attached to a heavy equipment the oxen are to pull. In today’s world, what are the yokes or burdens that believers of Christ may have? An example could the cravings of our sinful nature in “keeping up with the Joneses” i.e. accumulation of material goods to maintain our social status in society. As we embrace this behaviour, our burden gets heavier and our focus on God may be lost. In order to “come” to Jesus and take the yoke of Christ, we must be willing to give up our own yokes by submitting all aspects of our life to the authority of Christ. This involves taking time to continue to build up our relationship with Him so that our toil is being changed from one that is meaningless to one that is spiritually fruitful. In this way, we will experience the rest that is much needed.
In what sense will Jesus’ yoke be easy? Jesus did not promise us easy life even though we choose to take up His yoke. As the yoke is still the oxen’s tool in working hard, we will still face challenges and difficulties in life. Long working hours may still be the norm for some of us; we will still have a hectic lifestyle; however, when we are yoked with Christ, we will join together with Him and put ourselves under His leading to carry the burden, so that our frown can turn into a smile.
So will you join me to take up the yoke of Christ and experience the rest He will give us?
Brother Leo Deng Yong