When we get together with the church at our weekly meeting (meaning we meet with the church at other times, too), someone is scheduled to teach. This person usually teaches for 30 – 45 minutes. After this teaching, we have a time when others can teach or encourage the body, or ask for prayer.
Yesterday, MaÃ«l, my friend and fellow-elder from “The Adventures of MaÃ«l & Cindy“, taught from Matthew 11:25-30. This is part of that passage:
Come to me, all 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. (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
MaÃ«l did a great job explaining the meaning of this passage and its significance for us today. He talked about different types of yokes: both animal yokes and human yokes. He talked about how the primary purpose for a yoke was to make a burden easier to bear. He explained that Jesus does give us a burden, but that his burden is easy and light.
After MaÃ«l finished teaching, several brothers and sisters encouraged the church from the same passage with their own perspective on burdens. For example, one brother said that when he begins to take his eyes off of God, he starts to focus on himself. He does not think about God and he does not think about other people. Many times, he begins to feel a heavy burden which is caused by his own self-centeredness.
Another brother said that he often bears the burden of hypocrisy. He says one thing, but often lives in a completely different way. He realizes that his hypocrisy has a negative affect on the people around him, especially those who are not believers.
A sister said that she has been studying the Book of Revelation. When she begins to leave her first love (Jesus), life becomes a heavy burden. She no longer wants to draw near to God nor does she want to love other people.
A brother shared that he had problems at work. He wanted to please his boss, but his boss asked him to do some things that did not seem ethical. He said he was burdened by the tension between pleasing his boss and pleasing God.
As I was thinking about these different perspectives, I realized that a heavy burden should be a warning to us. Jesus has said that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. But, if we feel that we are under a hard yoke and pulling against a heavy burden, then perhaps its because we are not under only Jesus’s yoke and pulling only Jesus’s burden. Or, perhaps we are bearing a yoke or pulling a burden that we should be sharing with others. Whatever the reason, when we feel the yoke get hard or the burden become heavy, we should recognize that something is wrong.
I’m glad that MaÃ«l taught us from this passage. But, I’m also glad that other brothers and sisters had a chance to teach and exhort the church as well, and that they took advantage of that opportunity. We need to listen to and learn from one another. We also need to give everyone the opportunity to edify the whole church.