Are you weary and distressed over the world conditions? Perhaps you are working long hours on a job you don’t like. Do you have to work with difficult people? Depression and anxiety are at an all-time high. There are many causes of stress, but Jesus desires for people to live without it. He gives an answer in Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to me, all who are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
This verse says we can find rest for our souls by taking Jesus’ yoke upon us. So, what is the yoke? In a physical way it is a wooden beam placed behind the neck or head of oxen, mules, or horses, all connected, pulling something together. In a spiritual sense it could be viewed as being “connected” with Jesus through the cares, trials, and hardships of living. He is there pulling with us.
Dr. David Jeremiah writes, “In Jesus’ day, taking the yoke of another meant coming under that person’s leadership and walking in that person’s footsteps. When believers take Jesus’ yoke, they place themselves under his dominion. Only then do his followers enjoy the day-by-day release from stress that God intended”(The Jeremiah Study Bible, 2019, Hachette Book Group, p. 1266).
The contrast in this above passage is between burdens and rest. When Jesus said, “my yoke is easy, my burden is light,” I think he was talking about grace. In II Corinthians 12:9 he says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” A yoke for animals that doesn’t fit well makes the load more difficult to bear. However, the “spiritual yoke of grace” fits perfectly for the burdens of life we all endure.
What heavy laden burdens are you carrying? What stressors are in your life? Come to Jesus and take his yoke of grace perfectly made for you. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Walk in his footsteps in intimate connection, and find rest for your soul!
Take time out several times a day to move into God’s presence for 10-15 minutes. This could include prayer, listening to worship music, reading a Psalm, or doing something that delights or rejuvenates you.