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Burden

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“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, Christian Standard Bible).

Have you ever been deep down-to-the-bone tired? If you live in the 21st Century and keep the pace most of us do, you will probably respond with a resounding “yes.” Physical reasons can make us feel tired, but sometimes it’s just our hectic lifestyle—frequent late nights, too many commitments, or various family obligations.  With all our frenzied activity, we don’t take time to rest and refresh.

The Remedy

In the verses above, Jesus offers a remedy for our weariness. But what does it mean to take up His yoke? How do we do that?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines yoke as “a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (such as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together.” The imagery here is of being joined or linked together to achieve a common purpose. Without a yoke, the two animals may drift onto different paths—perhaps close, perhaps even in the same direction, but off target.

When we yoke ourselves to the Lord, we are agreeing to allow Him to guide our path. He sets the course, but He also shares the load. Otherwise, we are pulling against the yoke. We are not working with Him and learning from Him. When yoked with Him, we are not carrying the load alone; He shares it with us, and we feel the heaviness lift.

Easy to Wear

A yoke that is easy to wear is one that’s adapted to the recipient. None of us carry the same load in life. We each face our own unique struggles and burdens. Yet, the yoke of Christ fits everyone. He shapes it to us, so it does not chafe or make the burden worse.

Whether we realize it or not, if we are not yoked to Christ, we are still yoked to something. Only a heart search will reveal to us what we have chosen to join with. Can it provide the peace, rest, and strength we need? Not really. Only God can do that for us.

Are you weary? Is your burden heavy? The Lord stands near, ready to help with the load you carry. Accept His yoke. It will fit perfectly.

“He gives strength to those who are tired; to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy” (Isaiah 40:29, New English Translation).

Prayer: Lord, I submit myself to Your yoke, knowing that when I do, I will receive Your strength and Your power. You promised Your yoke would be easy and the burden light when we are yoked together. I commit myself to You and trust You to help me with the stresses of life. You are my strength and my rest.

(Suggested Scriptures for Meditation: Philippians 4: 12-13, II Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 4:16, Psalm 62:1-2, I Chronicles 16:11, Nehemiah 8:10.)

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22

There is the story in the Talmud of a poor man who had no wagon or donkey to carry his heavy bundles.  He had to carry the load on his back and walk many miles with his burdens to the village.  A wealthy man with a large wagon rode by.  Seeing the poor man struggle with his burdens, he stopped and offered the man a ride.  The poor man was more than grateful to have his burden eased.

After traveling some time, the wealthy man noticed that his companion was sitting with his bundles still upon his shoulders.  “Why don’t you put your belongings down?” asked the wealthy man.  “There is plenty of room in my wagon to lay your burdens down.  Are they not heavy?”

“Indeed, they are,” sighed the poor man. “But you have been more than gracious to offer me a ride and I do not wish to take advantage of you by weighing down your wagon.”

We read this story and think how foolish the man was.  But how often do we come to the Lord with a need or with something that is troubling us.  We spend time in prayer, asking Him to meet us and we thank Him for hearing us, and for meeting our need. Then we get up and go about our daily chores, still carrying a heavy burden on our hearts, wondering and worrying about how things are going to turn out.

I had a copy of a poem which I carried around in my Bible for years. Somewhere, I misplaced it, but as near as I remember it went like this:

“Tis wonderful surely to carry your burden with a smile and a shrug that seems gay

While you push back the heartache and carry the sorrow when it seems that there’s no other way.

But I’ve found that no sorrow or heartache or trial is too great for my Saviour to bear

So, I take them and give them to His precious keeping and thank Him and leave them there.

And wonder of wonders the heart that was breaking, the pain that was hurting, the trial

Are no longer my burdens but His and my portion is gladness and joy and a smile.”

God hears our prayer the first time we ask Him, and there is nothing wrong with asking Him every day until we receive our answer.  But in between our prayer times, we need to leave it with Him and trust Him to do what is best for us.

Prayer:  Thank you, Jesus, that we can bring our burdens to you in prayer and know that You care and that you will give us the answer we need according to Your will.  Help us to leave our burdens at your feet.

Devotion by Anne Johnston

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

So often we carry much more than we were ever meant to. Mercyme sings a song titled “Dear Younger Me” and one line in particular has always stood out to me.

“Dear younger me

It’s not your fault

You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross“

We endure many hardships in this life, and without even realizing it, weights have piled up on our shoulders and we start to slow down. The burden we carry begins to chip away at our stamina and enthusiasm for the work of God. 

There are things we simply are not meant to carry. 

Shame. 

Condemnation.

Guilt. 

Stress.

Worry & anxiety. 

We get so comfortable learning to “just live” with certain things, and that is not the way it is supposed to be. There is freedom to be found in Christ today, right now! He desires for you to walk in liberty and experience joy every single day. 

What have you allowed to just become normal in your life? Let go, release it to the Father and experience rest and freedom. 

Lord, I am thankful that I can find rest in You. Help me to lay my burdens down today, and to find newness in You.