Growing up, there was a song we often sang at church titled “Come to Me” by the Benedictine Monks of Weston Priory. Being young, the lyrics didn’t touch me as much as the music itself. I loved the beautiful rise and fall of the melody! As the years went by, I found myself singing “Come to Me” during some pretty rough patches of my life – lying on the exercise mat in physical therapy trying feverishly to get the small twitch in my shoulder to grow into full movement or watching my husband walk out on the sandy beach alone when I wanted so badly to walk hand-in-hand with him. Each time, I began humming the beautiful melody not thinking of the words. But soon in my head came the lyrics. “Wow – that’s what I sang all those years???” Weakly, I began singing the encouraging words of Jesus (quoted in Matthew 11:28) – Come to me all who labor and are heavy burden and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart. And you’ll find rest for your soul for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus called His yoke “easy” and “light”? A yoke appears to be a weighty burden, but it actually makes the workload light for the animal. Looking at an old picture of my grandpa steering oxen while pulling a plow I could see that the plow would be intolerable if it rested right on the oxen’s withers. But when you work an animal by means of a yoke, the weight he has to pull doesn’t harm him. The load becomes light.
Joni Eareckson Tada explained it best when she wrote in her devotional “Pearls of Great Price”: A yoke is not a contrivance to make work hard. It’s a gentle device to make hard labor light. Think about this as you read His word. A yoke is not meant to give pain but to save pain. Work is a fact of life. Burdens are inevitable. But you have a choice: either drag your workload under your own strength or put on the yoke of Christ.
How many times have I drug my work load under my own strength??? Many times. Right about the time I’m at my wits end thinking a project is way too hard or I want so badly to do my morning hygiene alone rather than with a caregiver, I remember, “Oops, I haven’t asked the Lord to help me carry this.” When I begin giving my load again to the Lord on a daily basis, sure enough, the project gets done in a timely way and my attitude is gentle when explaining directions to my caregiver.
Simply put, I find rest and much-needed strength when I put on Christ’s yoke.
Lord, I desire to be present to You in all things during the day. This way, I we will remember sooner to come to You in my labor and with my burdens. Thank You for helping me by carrying my load.