“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Here in Matthew 11: 28 – 29 Jesus is saying I am willing to take on your burdens that weigh you down in exchange for his burden which is light.
The word Jesus used is yoke. I don’t know if any of you have been on a farm and saw two animals : donkeys , horses or cattle yoked together. An actual yoke is often made of wood that has been shaped or carved to fit around the necks of two animals allowing them to pull heavy loads.
Statistics shows that two animals yoked together can pull up to 4 times more load than on their own. If two animals can pull 4 times the weight than on its own, then just think of what we and Jesus can do.
Our “burden” is not as heavy as we may think; we can always lighten it by doing what God says is right. Jesus understands the burdens of this world. He understands the burden of sin and the devastation it can cause in our lives. He warns us that in this world we will have trouble but he also encourage us ‘But take heart I have overcome the world! (John 14:33) He has divine powers to demolish any stronghold. (2 Cor 10:4)
The other thing about a yoke is that not only must the animals work together so that the work is done, each must pull their own weight. Jesus is saying
Yoke with me and you will find peace
Yoke with me and you will drink from the well of living water
Yoke with me and you will experience the Way, the Truth and the Life
Yoke with me and your burdens will be light
Yoke with me and you will find rest for your souls.
When I was in England I usually go to a convent once or twice per year for a retreat – my extended quiet time with God. I was most likely thinking then of finding rest for my soul. I remember one of the sisters saying to me ‘Karen the Christian life is simple but we make it difficult’ that made me think and she was so right!
The Christian life is simple but not easy! Therefore we make it COMPLICATED but on the other side of the RIVER OF COMPLICATION – on the other side of our ANGER, FEAR, SHAME, BITTERNESS, feeling of HOPELESSNESS AND LOW SELF WORTH there is what is called THE BRIDGE OF TRANSFORMATION. Once we cross that BRIDGE OF TRANSFORMATION what has always been SIMPLE now becomes easier. At THE BRIDGE OF TRANSFORMATION, you’ll find Jesus waiting. He is saying;
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt. 11: 28-29 MSG version)
Come to me and I will transform you by renewing your mind then you will be able to test and see what God’s will is for your life – his good, pleasing and perfect will – to prosper you – not to harm you – to give you a hope and a future (Romans 12: 1 – 2 & Jeremiah 29: 11 -13)
God is able to transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. But like the animals yoked together you must pull your own weight – He is not in the business of forcing you – you must first come to Him. He is the key to us living a transformed life!
I was so sadden by the news of Robin Williams who recently committed suicide. I grew up on Mork & Mindy .The man who seemed to have everything, who made the whole world smile through various films including Mrs Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam and many more, died with a heavy heart. How sad ?
I was at Leadership Training last weekend and the trainer reminded us that when we see a statement in the bible that begins with the word ‘IF’ followed by ‘THEN’, we should take notice. These are dependent events and the bible is full of them. The trainer urged us to stop praying for the ‘THEN’ which is the result and do the ‘IF’ which is in fact pulling our weight. 2 Chronicles 7: 14 states
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Listen to the passage. What are we asked to do? Humble ourselves and pray, seek God’s face, turn from our wicked ways THEN God will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.
Only God can give real peace, only God loves us enough to send his only Son to swap our heavy burdens for his light burdens. Let us not be laughing on the outside but dying inside. If you are depressed, reach out and talk out to someone. Jesus is waiting for you at the BRIDGE OF TRANSFORMATION. His greatest desire is to heal you, to transform your life.
Stop waiting for life to come to you
Let God help you tap into your passions
Unleash your dreams and live the life
You were meant to live.
Will you come to him today? Will you let Him help you to find rest for your souls?
(Talk at Bread4Life on 13th August 2014)