“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.”
—Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
To understand this passage we need to know that a yoke is an instrument used on farms for the purpose of bringing two or more animals together to plow the earth before planting seed. So when Jesus invites his listeners to take his yoke, he is saying to join him in the work he is doing.
There are many who have created their own burdens. They think that they will please God through their good deeds and strive every day to be worthy of his love. They are like an animal working in the field that is carrying a yoke too heavy for one alone.
They are working for God, but they don’t know what it is like to work with God.
Jesus shows us another way. He invites us to lay our burdens at his feet and join him under his yoke. When we begin to walk with Jesus we will discover what Eugene Peterson calls “the unforced rhythms of grace,” where we no longer work to earn God’s love but out of a place of knowing that we already have it.
When we take the yoke of Jesus we stop doing things in our own strength because we understand that the success of everything we do depends on him, and therefore we spend more time praying and less time worrying.
As Paul said in Galatians 2:20 (ESV): “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Here is a simple prayer to carry with you today:
Breathe in: Jesus,
Breathe out: Give me rest.