I had read that passage from the Bible I don’t know how many times, and I memorized it years ago. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”1 Then I read something that helped me see those verses in a new light.
Philip Yancey writes, “I used to believe that Christianity solved problems and made life easier. Increasingly, I believe that my faith complicates life, in ways it should be complicated. As a Christian, I cannot not care about the environment, about homelessness and poverty, about racism and religious persecution, about injustice and violence. God does not give me that option.”
Yancey goes on to quote that old familiar passage, which he explains this way: “Jesus offers comfort, but the comfort consists of taking on a new burden, His own burden. Jesus offers a peace that involves new turmoil, a rest that involves new tasks.”2
What new tasks? Jesus summed them up when He summed up the Christian faith: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself”3—our “neighbor” being anyone we are in a position to help. Loving others as much as we love ourselves doesn’t come naturally and seldom is easy, but it’s one of the keys to happiness, fulfillment, and success in life.
Take Jesus’ yoke. Give Him yours. It’s the best trade you’ll ever make.
- Matthew 11:28–30
- Philip Yancey, Reaching for the Invisible God (Zondervan, 2000), 93–94
- Matthew 22:37–39