Do you know what a yoke is?
When I saw it referenced in today's Gospel from Matthew, I looked it up again just to be sure. A yoke is a wooden beam that is placed across two animals like oxen or cattle, in effect to hook them together so that they can share a load of work. It allows them to work together, shoulder to shoulder, to move together, to carry or move the weight of their load in an even fashion. It looks horribly uncomfortable, but it is effective in keeping two creatures working together and helping to divide the weight of the burden.
In the Gospel, the Lord is telling His followers to come to Him, take His yoke, learn from Him. He doesn’t say He is going to pick up OUR yoke. He tells us to take up HIS yoke.
Sometimes taking up His yoke means that we ask the Lord to share the weight of our load, and other times it may mean a complete release, where we give it all to Him. We can attach our burdens, our load of grief or concern to His yoke, and we move through it with Him. Or in other instances, we can lay our problems at the foot of His Cross and surrender our load, rather than continuing to carry it. Sometimes we need to dump the weight that is keeping us from moving forward. We need to turn it all over, leave it behind, and move beyond the pain and the suffocating weight of grief or anger.
In any case, Jesus tells us that when we take up His yoke we will learn from Him.
The Lord is asking us to handle our stresses, our problems, our life frustrations, and our disappointments His way. When we bind ourselves to Him, then we move with Him. We walk with Him, work with Him, and learn from Him. And it is there we will find rest from our struggle.
This priest from Minnesota speaks on God's mercy, He Who shoulders our yoke. Have you thought about mercy in this way?
Dr. MaryRuth Hackett is the host of the podcast Parenting Smarts. She loves historical fiction, dark chocolate, watching her children play soccer, a good cup of coffee (decaf please) and the quiet of the early morning. She holds a PhD in Educational Psychology and has a passion for helping parents understand the way their children grow and develop. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book, Rise Up and the author of our Blessed Conversations: Leader Guide found here. You can find out more about her here.