When John and I married, I moved from the city to the farm. Being so close to God's handiwork in nature, I learned life's lessons by observation and experience.
John's grandparents had homesteaded the farm on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario, Canada. To be able to claim the land, Grandfather had to clear five acres of land and build a house in a year. Three different men had tried to claim the land before John's family but had failed to meet the requirements.
It was interesting to go into the barn and see equipment from the 1800s. Although Grandfather had horses, hanging on the wall of the barn was a double yoke. A friend had given it to him as a gift. Two young oxen would have been hitched together in the yoke to pull a wagon, or stumps, or boulders. A farmer would try to get two oxen the same size, height, and weight. This way the animals would work well together and share the load. My mind tried to imagine what it was like to live back in those days.
Matthew 11:28-30 – Come unto 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. (NIV)
Jesus gave a wonderful message of hope to the crowd. People need rest from their physical, mental, spiritual, and psycho-social burdens. We call these the cares of life. Jesus has said, "Come to Me, step into My yoke, and we will share the burden together." As a result, our burdens are lightened because they are given to God.
As I was trying to explain this encouraging promise to children at church a number of years ago, I put one side of the yoke on my shoulders and asked a young boy to put the other side on his shoulders. I asked, "Is that comfortable?" His reply was, "No, it hurts." He was not as tall as I was. The yoke was quite heavy on him, because he was carrying most of the weight.
Then I asked my husband John to put the yoke on his shoulders and stand together by me. I asked, "Is it comfortable?" John said, "Yes." John was my height. We carried the yoke equally.
I explained to the children that Jesus comes alongside anyone who asks. Christ is just the right size and height for everyone, whether child or adult.
We all need to grasp onto this promise of hope, rest, and lightened burdens. As people of faith, may we also give others the message of hope found in Jesus Christ, who says, "Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Prayer: Father, help us to witness for the One who loved us and went to Calvary so that He could share our burdens. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Sing Praise To God Who Reigns Above" (Lyrics)