In my city-fied adult life I haven’t spent much time around pairs of yoked oxen, but I can still relate to the heavy burdens that they carry and pull. When the wooden yoke is set on their shoulders and connected to the plow, the animals know it’s time to work.
Even if you and I have never seen a literal, plowing yoke, we can certainly relate to the task of straining under life’s heavy burdens. In fact, when Jesus confidently proclaimed that His “yoke is easy” and His “burden is light” it’s probably difficult for us to believe it.
I’ve heard multiple interpretations of the Matthew 11:30 passage wherein Jesus asserted the “lightness” of His yoke, and the most popular seems to be the suggestion that any heavy yokes in life must not be from Him. Indeed, if His yoke is “easy” but we’re still being strangled by something “heavy” then we must not be truly yoked up to Him.
The reasoning here is that God doesn’t give us burdens that are too heavy for us to carry. Consequently, we need to find a way to off-load our burdensome yokes and hook up to Jesus’ yoke instead.
I completely disagree with that thinking.
God always gives us burdens that are too great for us to bear apart from Him. The issue is not, “heavy burdens come from Satan while light burdens come from Jesus.” Rather, it is, “who’s next to you in the yoke?”
Jesus’ yoke is easy because HE is pulling it beside us. Life’s burdens will always crush us unless we’re harnessed to a power that is greater than this life.
So…the question today is, “Are you toiling with Him or are you relying on your own strength?” Are you drawing, moment-by-moment, from the powerful life of the Spirit, or are you Hercules, trying to hold up the world on your own?
There’s no other way around it. Those who truly walk with God find a strength that enables them to bear up under life’s burdens, while those who don’t don’t.
Let’s be those who do.