Those of us who are parents know what it is like to scold our children, and ten minutes later turn around and offer them a dish of ice cream, not as a peace offering, but because all is forgiven, and it’s time to move on.
This week I have been studying the book of Matthew Chapter 11. It is a LOADED chapter. First Jesus acknowledges that John the Baptist is a prophet sent from God. Then He scolds the residents of the Galilean cities for their lack of repentance. Then Jesus acknowledges that He is indeed the Son of God. Finally, Jesus offers an invitation to come and follow him. The language in Chapter 11 is strong and stern. At one point, he actually mocks his listeners. Then comes the invitation.
Taken from the New International Version, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The two operative words in this passage are “learn” and “burden”
This is our burden. We are called to work toward a knowledge and understanding of the kingdom of Heaven through listening to that soft, still voice of God within us, via Christ. We are called to study scripture. We are called to acknowledge the Christ working though our neighbors and giving us cues. We are called to be a family through the body of Christ. In this way, we can learn how to be better people and better Christians.
Is this a burden? I would say “yes.” It takes some effort, but the reward is an ever-improving home in the kingdom of God.
Realization of our salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ comes with understanding what He taught us while he was walking among us. It also comes from taking full advantage of the opportunities at hand in our lives at this juncture of history. Just as we applied ourselves during our school days, applying ourselves as we learn from Jesus is our burden, our work.
Yet, our work, with the help of God, lifts the burdens of the world off of our shoulders and gives us a yoke that leads us home. This is where the burden is light. With the understanding that Jesus is our Savior, we put off the yoke of the world, and put on the yoke of Jesus, one of love, respect, peace and joy. Which yoke would you rather have? Have faith.