the weblog of Alan Knox

Jesus’s Yoke: Listening to different perspectives

Posted by on Oct 27, 2008 in discipleship, edification, gathering | 5 comments

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, Maël, my friend and fellow-elder from “The Adventures of Maël & 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)

Maël 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 Maël 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 Maël 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.


5 Comments

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  1. 10-27-2008

    I love that passage in Matthew.When we went through it in my small group a few months ago, we talked about yokes, how most people think of them in an oppressive fashion.

    But to be fitted with a yoke by Christ is what we all need to pull for Him in a world weighed down by sin.

    The journey is way too hard without His yoke.

  2. 10-27-2008

    Hey Alan,

    Studying Matthew a few months back I realized something. No matter what, one will bear a yoke and a burden. Which yoke and burden or better yet whose yoke and burden will bear. We are all slaves, regardless of our status in life. Some to sin and Satan (and all that comes along with it) and those who have been set free by the blood; Jesus Christ.

    If we come to Him He gives us an easy one, a gracious and loving yoke, one that conforms us to His image, and one that liberates. If we try to go through this life under another, shame and death.

    It is also funny to see the paradox of yoke vs easy. No one ever sees a yoke as easy or light, nor a burden. So if you were a disciple (or someone in an agrarian culture) the word picture Jesus was painting would have been much to sink your teeth into.

    Just some thoughts brother.

  3. 10-27-2008

    Alan great thoughts on this topic. I want to thinking you for showing us different oppinions on this passage.

  4. 10-27-2008

    Alan,

    As we listen to different perspectives regarding the lives of others, we are receiving a grace that we often don’t perceive.

    Almost without exception as people share, as you have reported, a gift is given which enables us to see that we are not as uniquely sinful as we may think.

    No Christian can deny “that when he begins to take his eyes off of God, he starts to focus on himself”, “that he often bears the burden of hypocrisy”,”When she begins to leave her first love (Jesus), life becomes a heavy burden”,”he was burdened by the tension between pleasing his boss and pleasing God”.

    You sum it up well!

    That’s why it is important that we don’t rush to take someone’s burden off them (psychological transference), but to stand alongside and help them carry their burden, whether sin or something else.

    As you suggest,burdens which become unbearable,often,are simply our own fault, often because we have allowed them to be imposed by legalistic preachers who are masters at manipulative guilt-tripping.

    On the other hand, as I read what you have written I am conscious of Gal. 6:5, which reveals good reason why we must remember that our common Adamic stain, makes it imperative that we are diligent in keeping watch on ourselves and not others. I am deeply conscious that my life is evaluated by God according to the way I practice my faith, not by comparing myself with others.

    Must have been a great study.

  5. 10-27-2008

    Andy, Lionel, Kinney, and Aussie John,

    Thank you for adding your own perspectives. The point here is that we need to listen to one another – both to the saint who has walked with Jesus for many years and also to the newest believer – both to the seminary educated and to those who did not finish high school. God puts us together so that we can help one another. For too long the church has listened to only a few in leadership. Its time for us to allow God to speak through others as well.

    -Alan