“Come to me, all who labor and are 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.”
Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
This may be one of the first verses I memorized from scripture. I read this and took it to heart when I was simultaneously working full time learning a trade, going to college, maintaining a relationship and playing in a working band, all while still drinking and drugging. I was sick and tired, and tired of being sick and tired.
“Come to me”, Jesus said. I was trying to go to Him, but I did not know how to. I had prayed the sinner’s prayer a couple years earlier and believed as much as I knew how, but little had changed. I was isolated and alone, crushed by responsibility and addiction. When I finally walked into my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, I was astonished to discover many others in the same situation. The burden I thought was mine alone was suddenly shared and so much lighter.
Have you ever seen a yoke? It a device that is no longer common in our modern world. The yoke is a sort of wood bar used to join multiple horses, mules or other draft animals together to share and balance the weight of what they are pulling.
Jesus does not promise us a comfortable ride or a life of enjoyment free from life’s toils and burdens. We have work to do, and on top of that work, we still have the other responsibilities of our lives. When we try to shoulder all these burdens alone, we are quickly exhausted and ultimately crushed. When we come to Jesus and are yoked together with our fellow believers, we are yoked together in sharing our burdens. Together we are so much stronger and more capable than anyone of us alone! When we choose to be yoked together, we are no longer pulling our heavy burdens alone. And, somehow, our part of the shared burden is lighter.
Do you know Him? If not, know that Jesus loves you and waits for an invitation into your life. If you do know Him, have you made the choice to take His yoke in place of carrying your burden alone? In these days when we are necessarily physically separated and isolated, that decision might not seem very practical. Jesus has not changed though, and He never will. You don’t need to carry your load alone. His promise is as good today as it has ever been.