Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Tell me, those of you who have been in this walk of life for at least a little while; DOES HIS YOKE SEEM EASY TO YOU?
Come on, ‘fess up. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t, at least at some point, think “MAN this yoke is heavy! And I can think of a lot of things I might call this “burden”, but LIGHT isn’t one of them!”
So then… was Christ lying? Was He just speaking metaphorically? Was He just speaking of some spiritualized, unreal version of reality? Or… here’s a thought… maybe YOU’VE done something to bely His promise of a light, easy burden on your walk with God!
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
And while we are at it, do you feel – and have you always felt, since learning the truth – FREE? I trust not. I suspect rather, that you are like most whom I’ve known, who felt this way of life was like living in a box – a box which deprived you of enjoyment, of fun, of friends, and of everything that once excited you and interested you, a box which is much more like a prison than a paradise!
Mark 10:29-30 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold NOW IN THIS TIME, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
And here is a fun one – if you have truly been in this way of life for any length of time at all, then you have lost houses, business deals, family, friends, for the truth’s sake. Your friends don’t like you any more, since you’ve found this kooky religion! But the question is… have YOU experienced a HUNDRED TIMES MORE FRIENDS? Have you been rewarded with ONE HUNDRED PROFITABLE BUSINESS DEALS FOR EVERY ONE THAT YOU WALKED AWAY FROM FOR HIS SAKE?
I didn’t think so. So the question is… WHY? WHY is His yoke heavy for you? WHY don’t you feel free? WHY haven’t you received the hundredfold blessings God promised to His servants? Well, there is only one possible explanation. You haven’t been pulling the yoke with Christ – you’ve been pulling AGAINST HIM!
Let’s imagine for a moment a farmer – let’s say a really strong, muscular farmer – pulling an old-fashioned plow. And He’s handling this plow pretty well all by himself. And you’re walking alongside the road, let’s say out of a job at the moment, and he hollers out to you “Hey! Come pull this yoke with me – it’s easy, and light, and I’ll pay you really well!”
Well, naturally, this sounds like a great deal to you, so you hop the fence into the field and grab a hold of that yoke and give a good push! But see, here you both run into a problem. The yoke is only easy if you’re both pulling the same direction! But you, you want to pull off to the left, while he’s trying to pull straight down the row!
Needless to say, this generates problems. Granted, he’s bigger than you, and so you’re GONNA go down the row straight – at least, HE is – but by fighting him and pulling off to the left, or over to the right, or even stopping altogether and just being DRAGGED along with the yoke by the big farmer, YOU CAN TURN THIS SIMPLE, EASY JOB INTO A MISERABLE EXPERIENCE for BOTH of you!
It’s much like trying to train a new pet to walk on a leash. Especially a rebellious one, like a cat. I used to walk my cat on a leash. And I told him that walking on a leash with me was very easy! It wasn’t hard! Well, then I got him out on the leash and… well, as anyone who has ever tried this knows… kitties are independent. They don’t LIKE to follow along behind you on a leash! They like to do things THEIR way.
In my particular case, we’d go about five feet and then kitty would plant his feet in the ground. I, being bigger, continued walking and so we continued moving. Since kitty stopped moving his feet, this inevitably resulted in kitty rolling over and being dragged on his smoothest surface, which happened to be his back. This, equally inevitably, resulted in my referring to this experience as “taking my kitty for a drag”.
This experience SHOULD have been a fun, easy, refreshing experience for BOTH of us! Because my yoke was EASY, and my burden was LIGHT! All I wanted was for him to walk along with me! But NOOOO! He had to go and be all stubborn, and do things HIS way, and just bullheadedly REFUSE to do things my way, and so this became a HEAVY load, a HARD path, and a downright UNPLEASANT experience! And if you were to ask my kitty if my burden was light, he would scream (or rather, mew) “ANYTHING BUT!”
Now…. I don’t think I need to explain what I meant by those analogies. It sorta jumps off the page. God told you to walk WITH Him, and pull the yoke THE SAME DIRECTION HE IS PULLING IT, and if you do, why, that yoke is practically not even there! Of course, if, when He tells you not to do a certain thing, if you argue, and fuss, and fume, and finally do it only because you really have no other choice and you KNOW He’ll punish you if you don’t, well, then no, it’s not freedom. It’s not easy, and it’s not rewarding, and that burden most certainly IS NOT LIGHT!
But whose fault was this? Was it God’s fault? Ha. God’s done His part. He never agreed to plow the field the way YOU wanted to do it, and He never agreed to let you drive! The deal was, that if you would plow HIS way, and pull WITH HIM – after all, two cannot walk together unless they’re AGREED, you know (Amos 3:3) – If you pull WITH HIM, then you won’t notice that burden! And it won’t feel like you’re in a little box. That TRUTH WILL MAKE YOU FREE!
And let’s get back to that question about receiving a hundredfold friends. Has this happened to YOU? Perhaps. But it hasn’t happened to anyone I’ve met. So why is that? Why didn’t God give THEM that hundred-times-blessing He promised? Well, you see, that can be explained very easily. Because they didn’t give those things up for HIS SAKE!
They didn’t cheerfully walk away from family, from friends, from jobs, from money, from homes and from possessions! They were DRAGGED away by Christ pulling that yoke! They GRUDGINGLY gave up their attachments to the things of this world, and they bitterly resented God making them do so! And so they didn’t fulfill the conditions of God’s promise – they didn’t WALK away from lands and homes, they were DRAGGED away under duress – they didn’t walk away of their own free will, they were drug off, chained to that yoke of Christ that prevented them from having the things they truly wanted!
And so, because they stubbornly resist leaving behind these people who are pulling in a different direction on a different yoke, and they keep trying to drag them into the Kingdom of God along behind them, they’re not just carrying the burden of Christ any more! They’re being pulled between Christ on the one side and their friends on the other! (Good news though! Whoever gets the biggest piece gets to make a wish!)
So here they are, trying to drag the yoke of Christ down the row, AND trying to drag a house and a car and a hundred rebellious worldly friends (or church members) along with them! And they WONDER why their yoke is heavy???
And finally in most cases, they’re dragging so much baggage along with them, that CHRIST simply refuses to pull the whole load any more, and snips their harness loose from the yoke altogether and sends them back into the world!
And so yes, for them, this yoke IS HARD! And His burden isn’t light – it’s an albatross hanging around their neck! And they aren’t free to do want they truly WANT to do, they’re trapped in a lifestyle they never should have tried to follow in the first place!
But whatever happens, just remember that His yoke IS EASY! That burden of His IS light, and He DOES MAKE YOU FREE! But only IF you walk WITH Him, and WORK with Him, AND ONLY IF YOU CARRY THE SAME BURDEN IN THE SAME DIRECTION THAT HE IS CARRYING IT!
(No animals were harmed during the writing of this article.)