The easy yoke. The light burden. Does walking with Jesus promise an easy life? No. Does it promise a healthy and wealthy life? No. Does it promise a rested life?
Absolutely. His yoke is easy and burden light.
(A yoke! Thanks to Sherry for actually taking this picture, as I forgot to take one before returning it.)
I know what you’re thinking. Who in Baton Rouge has a yoke?!?! Josh Causey, that’s who. He pastors at the Ring Community Church. I met Josh while at LSU (he was a college pastor at the time). He preached on this passage one time at the BCM about ten years ago and used this same yoke. While preparing for this sermon, I asked him if he still had it and, lo, he did! (It pays to have pastor friends who have parents who give unique ordination gifts.)
I’m not a farmer. I wish I were (sometimes) because I think the Bible would make much more sense to me. When Jesus makes an agrarian reference I have to look it up; farmers get it right away (they also get awesome commercials). So what can we learn from Jesus about rest in Matthew 11:28-30. . .
- Rest is a person–Rest is not a destination, unless that destination is Jesus. Rest is not a vacation, unless that vacation is paced by Jesus. Rest is not a holiday, unless he is the source of life during that holiday. Jesus is our rest. He is our everything.
- Rest is active–Our concept of rest stinks. Many of us (myself included) would prefer a nice, long nap rather than delighting in Jesus. While resting our bodies is incredibly important, rest is an active abiding in Christ. It isn’t just a passive experience but an active yielding.
- Rest requires stopping something–Jesus bids us “Come,” but that requires ceasing our current activity and moving to him. Rest (in this faction) implies that all of us have wearied ourselves outside of the presence of God. To truly rest, we must stop those feeble tasks and move to our savior.
I am not the greatest example of rest. But yoked to Jesus, I trust he will set my pace and teach me how to live. And I pray the same for you.