A picture comes to mind. Of a man, bowed under the hot summer sun. Sickle in hand. Seeking sustenance for the family table. Hot, tired, and heavily burdened, toting the harvest on his back. Laboring and heavy laden.
So when Christ says to take his yoke upon us, I instinctively think, “What is the Lord thinking? I’m already burdened and heavy enough. I need rest, not more burden!” And isn’t that what we all long for? Deep, quiet, permeating rest?
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).
We do feel heavy and bowed at times with the burdens of life. With the weight of living in a fallen, conflicted world. The anguish of broken relationships.
And even with the remorse of our own condition.
Guilt over past actions, and unwise or unkind words. Remorse for our own wrong-doing. Days so heavy that it takes our every effort just to rise from bed. And like the man under the hot August sun, we stoop lower and lower, our steps dragging more and more. Have you been there?
Hear Christ saying: “Take my yoke upon you. You will find rest for your souls.”
Has this been your heart’s cry of late? “Lord, teach me to enter your true rest. I’m tired of struggling with burdens never meant for me.”
The truth is, once we’ve repented of and abandoned our sin, God has forgiven it. And even gone one step further. He cast our sins into the depth of the sea (Micah 7:19). Deep, where none can fish. So deep, that even he will not fish them out again. They are gone. Do not believe the lie of thinking they still exist.
For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more, (Hebrews 8:12).
Christ often promised peace to his disciples, but only peace for that day.
Time — past, present, and future — is a part of God’s creation. It exists for us, not God, because he is timeless, and transcends it.
Yet, only today really exists. It is all we can hold and live. Past and future are mere thoughts. One a vanishing memory, the other a misty hope.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble, (Matthew 6:34).
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. We’d like a second chance, to fix all the wrong we’ve done. But we can’t go back, and it does no good to beat ourselves up over it.
It’s really a gift that Yesterday is gone, and Tomorrow may never come. Because by concentrating on them, and all we would change or all we dream of — we rob ourselves of Today.
Today, when can choose to stop thinking, “Yesterday or long ago, I did this, said this, thought this.” That is gone, but we have today. Today to act like Christ. To show kindness, speak with gentleness. Do what is right, and think good thoughts. Living every moment, together with our Savior. There is no way we could ever handle time all at once. The past would haunt us, the future would overwhelm us.
TODAY IS ALL WE HAVE. BUT IT IS ENOUGH.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,” Christ is saying. “I’ve taken care of the past. The future is in my hands. But I’ve given you Today. A brand new day, a brand new life. A brand new you.
And knowing that, can help us to not only leave the past behind, but change all our tomorrows! Even saying, when our heart condemns, “Oh the one who did that wrong? She’s gone. Another took her place — one you’d like to know!”
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come, (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Look yourself in the mirror and say, “Today is going to be great!”
We thank you Lord that you truly do help us carry our burdens. And that you give us peace that nothing or no one can take away. Help us, Lord, to rest in that peace.