Finding Rest

Finding Rest

I’m pretty sure I speak for a lot of folks when I say one thing I want to experience more of is rest. Not necessarily physical rest, though that is good, but rest for my heart and mind. The rate at which people are just collapsing and dying shows that rest has become an elusive element in our lives; we are constantly stressed.

There are several scriptures that talk about rest but I want to focus on one in which Jesus basically gave a prescription for how to find 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.(Matthew 11:29)

What is a yoke?

A yoke is a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (such as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together. In order to increase the efficiency of the animals as they pull some farm machinery for tilling the ground or some other task, two animals are used instead of one and they are joined together at the neck with the wooden yoke. As a result, the two animals have to go in the same direction and the burden is shared between them.

What are the implications of taking on Jesus’ yoke?

1. We go in the same direction:

On the farm, the yoked oxen are directed by an ‘ox driver’ because the animals need to be led by a human being that knows what the oxen are to accomplish on the farm. With us and Jesus, though, no external driver is needed. Because Jesus is the lord, and he is supremely superior in knowledge and wisdom, He is the driver. In whichever direction He moves, we follow. If we follow Him, we can accomplish great things with Him. If we resist His leading, we will accomplish nothing for the kingdom of God.

This brings to mind what Jesus said about our dependence on Him for fruitfulness –

“Stay joined to me and I will stay joined to you. No branch can produce fruit alone. It must stay connected to the vine. It is the same with you. You cannot produce fruit alone. You must stay joined to me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I to you, you will produce plenty of fruit. But separated from me you won’t be able to do anything.”
(John 15:4-5 ERV)

2. We share each other’s burdens:

God has never shied away from carrying our burdens. In fact, we are invited to give them to Him –

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
(1 Peter 5:7 NLT)

For some of us who are too independent, it takes us getting to the end of ourselves to cast our cares to God. Others of us, however, are quick to run to God with their burdens. In either case, we are able to do so because we know Jesus is willing to be yoked with us – willing to share our burdens. I think, however, most of us struggle with accepting to share His burden (which is primarily concerned with His kingdom and His body, the Church) and, as a result, refuse to take on His yoke.

For some reason, we find it hard to believe that His burden is really light and His yoke is really easy. To my understanding, what makes for the lightness and ease is the reality that it’s He that does the majority of the work at the end of the day. Our role is simply to agree to follow His lead – to submit to His will as Lord.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
(Philippians 2:13 NLT)

What are the benefits of being yoked to Christ?

1. We learn from Him
2. We find rest for our souls

In conclusion, if we want to find rest for our souls, let’s take on Jesus’ yoke; learn from Him; give Him our burdens and take on His.