Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Taking, then, everything that we've been looking at in God's creatures and creation, all the things that would seem to say that we weren't created for this, it's clear that perhaps, we were created for precisely this. 

What we have to do is figure out how to shift our weight.

Like the ant, we have to figure out how to use our whole beings to do that thing that we were created to do. Like the grasshopper or the cricket, we must learn how to shift our weight to maximize our strength. Like the butterfly, we have to find the balance between holding being secure and holding ourselves too tightly. And this is where the wisdom of Jesus comes in.

Jesus has already told us how to do it; He gives it to us in a word in the Gospels. He says, 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. (Matthew 11:29-30)

Most of us have some trouble with this image, primarily because most of us have never worked in the fields or seen a yoke. We don't know what Jesus is talking about in our busy, metropolitan, fast-paced world. We see a picture of a yoke - this heavy, wooden apparatus big enough to sit over an ox's shoulders - and we think there's no way that can be light, let alone comfortable.

But the yoke is the testimony of God's creation wrapped into one image. Like the weight of the grasshopper or the cricket, the yoke helps to shift the load so that it is easier to carry. Like the butterfly, the yoke rests securely on the shoulders of the ox, but it is not too heavy, not too burdensome on him. Like the ant, the yoke allows the ox to use the entirety of his being to move the load - by just doing what he does, walking normally, the load is brought with him. He hardly even notices.

So when Jesus offers us this image of His yoke, He is essentially inviting us to do what other creatures do so well by instinct - shift and secure the load, use our entire beings to move it. 

We might even say we were made for this. 

The image is not limited to this, however, for Jesus also says, Learn from me. Most of the time, yokes were used with a tandem of two oxen, not just one. This was meant to help to spread the burden out even more, placing it equally across two sets of shoulders and also doing more work at one time than could be done by a single ox. And it was customary, as well, to yoke together two animals of different strengths, or two animals of different experience - you would yoke an ox who knew well what he was doing with one who was just learning or who needed the assistance of a stronger partner. 

That's what Jesus is offering to us. He says, hey, I've been doing this awhile. I know the ropes. My strength is built up; I'm good at this. So yoke yourself together with Me, and I'll show you how it's done. Together, we'll plow this field - living, loving, and serving in this world - and you'll understand how easy it really is. Together, we'll do more than you could do on your own anyway, more love, more grace, more joy, more peace. And then you'll know that it really is so easy. It really is.

You were made for this. 

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