What should we do when we fall prey to some self-induced pressure and stress? I asked myself that question recently and was drawn to that well known passage in Matthew 11:
“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 gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls.”
(Interesting that this is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus actually describes Himself. He calls Himself “gentle and humble.” What a model for us!)
But back to the story at hand. Jesus is taking an every day situation to teach us something about the remarkable peace He offers His kids.
He points out some oxen that are attached to a grinding wheel. He notes that the yoke that is placed on the shoulders of a strong ox is custom made for that animal. It fits. It is appropriate for the size of the animal and for the task at hand. Because it is custom made, it will not chafe.
He notes that the oxen are directed to the correct field. They only work in the fields that are ripe and ready for harvest. There is no wasted effort. There is no grinding that doesn’t yield a meaningful harvest of grain.
A caring owner supervises the entire job. He is watching. He chooses the oxen and measures them for their yoke. He attaches them to the grinding wheel. He selects the field to work and oversees the complete operation.
And the result is a harvest…a harvest of peace.
So when we are chafing at a particular set of irritating circumstances, we need to ask three questions. Are we struggling under the load of the wrong yoke (maybe one of our own making)? Are we working in the wrong field (perhaps on the “wrong side of the street”)? Or are we laboring for the wrong “owner?” (Who or what is controlling us right now?)
When one of those three conditions exists…we struggle.
Maybe this week it’s time for us to check our “yokes.” Let’s consider our “fields” and make sure we are signed up to work for the right master. And then we will indeed find REST.