Because God our Heavenly Father wants nothing but the best for His kids it makes Him sad when He sees us weighing ourselves down with unmet needs, unreasonable expectations, and unresolved issues. So He comes alongside us and offers to carry that burden for us.
His invitation is given in the book of Matthew: Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. (Matthew 11:28, NLT)
Come to me. When we are worn out from the despair of trying to earn the acceptance of others, God says, come to me. When we are overwhelmed with doubts that we could ever be loved, God says, come to me. When we are burdened with discouragement from seeking approval from those who will never give it, God says, come to me.
Contrary to the opinion of Bible-thumping preachers and belt-swinging fathers the Christian life is not based on the words do for me. Our God pleads, come to me. We are to come into relationship with our Heavenly Father through His Son and our Brother, Jesus Christ. We must place our trust in Him in order to find acceptance, not in our ability to follow the rules.
When we come to God through Christ He invites us then to take from Him. Take my yoke upon you.
A yoke is a carved, wooden beam that connects oxen together to pull a heavy load or cart. Yokes make it possible for oxen to handle a burden they could never carry on their own. Yokes allow animals to share their strength so they can work beyond their capacity.
When we take Jesus’ yoke upon us we are, in essence, taking on His power. The result is synergistic. By joining with Him we operate beyond our capacity. He keeps pulling along with us until we get the job done. When we take His yoke on us and follow His lead we find rest from our burdens.
Being yoked with Jesus also assures us that not only won’t He leave our side, He can’t leave our side! By definition, once we take on His yoke He takes on ours.
Once we come to Him and take from Him, God, as explained in this text from Matthew, then makes us this offer: let me teach you. Our God wants us to enter into a relationship with Him so that He can teach us, so that we can see and experience for ourselves the beauty of His wonderful, caring, loving nature.
Nowhere in the Bible does our Heavenly Father say come to me and I will take your problems away. Despite what many “health and wealth” preachers are promising God never vows to give His children a problem-free life. His guarantee is quite the opposite. Jesus said, Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. That’s our promise. You won’t see Grandma cross-stitching that verse and hanging it on the wall any time soon.
But Jesus wasn’t finished with His statement. There is a part deux to this text, an addendum that provides a divine disclaimer, a comforting conclusion. Jesus went on to say, But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, NLT)
No matter what trials or sorrows we could face on this earth we can take heart. We are yoked to One so powerful He rose victorious over sin and death and hell. Surely He can handle whatever problems we may face today.