Thursday, March 26, 2015

To Whom or What Are You Yoked?

Last Sunday night, my pastor preached out of Matthew 11:28-30 which reads, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Always a comfort to me, this passage reminded me that I don't have to carry my burdens alone.  In fact, Jesus doesn't want me to.  He wants to share my load, but even more than that, He wants to carry it for me.  For a better understanding of this passage, I urge you to read an earlier post, My Yoke Is Easy.

I listened to the familiar passage and its interpretation during the church service, then suddenly, my peaceful calm was interrupted by a pointed question from the pastor:  So who or what are you yoked to?  The question caught me off guard because I felt that the answer was obvious.  Jesus, of course.  I'm yoked to Jesus.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that wasn't necessarily so.  You see, if I am truly yoked to Jesus, then that means He's carrying my load and I'm following every step of His leading.  Jesus said, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light."  In other words, when yoked with Him, I'm not striving and struggling to figure out what to do and how to do it.  He's doing the work through me, and I am merely a willing vessel.

Unfortunately, that doesn't exactly describe my behavior of late.  My burden has seemed anything but light.  I've fought and struggled to make things work.  I've plotted and schemed to figure out how to make ends meet.  I've worried and cried about things that were obviously beyond my control.  I haven't been yoked up with Jesus.  I've been yoked up with fear, and let me tell you, fear does not hold up its share of the load.  On the contrary, it adds more weight.  No wonder the yoke has not been easy nor the burden light.  I've been yoked up to the wrong thing.

Jesus offers to carry my load, but fear adds more and more to my burden.  Jesus offers to lead and guide, but fear leads to distraction and disorientation, often resulting in frustration and indecision.  Jesus offers to do the work for me and through me, but fear piles on more work for me in the form of worry, despair and hopelessness.  Jesus offers rest, but fear steals strength and energy from both today and tomorrow.  Why, oh why have I yoked myself together with my sworn enemy?  It's like I'm trying to run a three-legged race with a snake.  I'm doing all the work and wearing myself out in the process.  This is totally unacceptable!

Today is a new day, and I have the opportunity to choose my "plowing partner."  Will I once again choose to yoke myself to fear, or will I choose the One who will never let me down and will carry my load?  It seems like such an obvious choice, doesn't it?  Sadly, that doesn't mean it's easy.  But thankfully, Jesus' yoke is, and He will even give me the strength to make the right decision.

It's time to plow.  Pick your teammate, but I warn you, choose carefully.  The wrong choice could leave you weary and worn while the right choice will leave you rested and refreshed.  The choice is yours.

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