Yoke… such a foreign word but it is still there in Matthew as an invitation. “Take my yoke”… take… choice. Sounds like the yoke isn’t the choice, but whose yoke is the choice. In the foyer of our church there is a yoke with the verse from Matthew 11,
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. (28-30)
No fancy dissertation on why we should take this yoke, just the straight forward reminder of who Jesus is. He is gentle and humble. He promises that if we take it, we will find rest for our souls. Rest doesn’t seem to be connected with a yoke. Yokes are tools for oxen to plow. That’s work and yet, Jesus promises rest. Apparently, I do need to learn from Him, as the verse says. I need to allow Him to re-define things for me.
Recently, I stopped thrashing about something. I felt God inviting me into a new work at a new pace with a new perspective, only I could not see that part until I agreed to take His yoke. I was envisioning this work through my eyes and my ideas. I was trying to comprehend it and plan for it with my own yoke, and it was tiresome and frustrating. I kept pulling away from the work because I couldn’t see it being easy or light. There was no way rest could be found there.
After many months of going around this invitation, yes I am as stubborn as an ox, I felt the invitation spelled out, “you have freedom to walk away from this work, but I am asking you to stay and enter in with me. Will you obey?” Would I take His yoke? Would I allow Him to teach me? Once I said yes, and slipped into the yoke He had for me with Him, I was amazed at how much lighter His was than the one I had been lugging around and the way I had envisioned it. I was able to see better and clearer things I had tried to see for months. As I am meditating on this verse, I am asking Jesus to show me the way to go. Show me what this work looks like and doesn’t. My eyes have been opened to how complicated I had made things.
It is still a challenging work, but there is rest in knowing that it is not all on me. He has the plans for the work. He knows best the way to go about it. Staying yoked to Him will keep the work easy and light.
My word for this year seems to be gentle. I thought it odd, but as I looked throughout Scripture, gentle and gentleness are found often. It is God’s way with us and the description of His character. It is the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and it is something we are told to put on, and then something we are to pursue, gentleness… Jesus says He is gentle and humble. The only was to learn the way of gentleness is to take His yoke upon me and learn from Him.