What do you do with a heavy heart? What is weighing on your heart today? A big decision? An illness? A loved one? Perhaps you’ve even prayed about these issues and moments later find yourself like me, in deep thought once again. A burdened heart seems to go everywhere with us-in the car, to work, to the grocery store. I have been right in the middle of choosing a ripe tomato when my heart has decided to think on a big decision. How does that happen? It is almost like my brain just happened to see the the post-it note that my heart stuck up there in case my brain dared to forget long enough to select produce. Jesus tells us to give Him our burdens, and I want to, but sometimes I take them back.
“Then Jesus said, ‘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 11:28-30 (NLT)
“Let me teach you,” Jesus says after he tells us to to take His yoke. Jesus promises that He will show us how to wear it. Our master is either the world or Jesus. My burdens under the world’s yoke cause my shoulders and neck to hurt with tension. The world does not promise peace with its yoke. Jesus says His is light and easy to bear. Even when our physical body is hard at work in our career, or fighting illness, or care taking, or just needing discernment, we are tethered to God’s strength, wisdom, peace, and rest in the midst of our work.
Last week I had a heavy decision on my mind, that was weighing down my heart and this phrase “let me teach you” pierced my heart. I don’t think I had ever even noticed that part before. And that’s what the Holy Spirit does when we read God’s Living Word. He teaches us right where we are. “Let me teach you…” a little further digging in my Bible Concordance gave me even more clarity when I learned that the greek word used here in this phrase means to learn, study, be instructed, even get into the habit of being. Wow! God can even show us how to get in the habit of trading my heavy heart for His light yoke? There is hope for us after all!
Interestingly a yoke was often worn by oxen to do work in the fields, but God tells us
that we will find freedom in doing His God’s kingdom work, that includes letting Him shape and mold us. The oxen at work could only be yoked to one master, and so is true for us. The weight of sin, worry, striving, material success, all weigh us down, but the yoke of Jesus is forgiveness, love, peace, wisdom, and purpose, just to name a few. If you carry a burden today, trade them for a yoke that is light. As believers, we are tethered to Jesus who is the One guiding us, but it is so tempting to slip on the heavy yoke of the stresses of this world.
I learned this week that when thoughts of worry threaten me, Jesus will teach me to trust Him. I could make my big decision that I had been faithfully committed to prayer, and I trust Jesus lead me to make the right choice. I could rest in knowing I wouldn’t have all the answers and I wouldn’t know how to do it all, but yoked to Jesus, I could learn. After all, that is what being a disciple is all about, not having all the answers, but learning. Take a moment and pray through Matthew 11:28-30 and, ask Jesus to teach you how to lay down your burdens and not pick them back up. What do you need to let Jesus teach you today?
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” John 14:26-28 (NIV).