My Yoke is Easy

When I was really young, my parents took us to Williamsburg for an educational vacation, and we saw some of the really old tools they used back in the day. The one I remember best is the one they let us touch. A yoke. It was this carved, wooden, two-armed thing. It fits over your head and shoulders and you’d hang buckets of water or firewood or whatever from the ends. I couldn’t lift the yoke, much less anything that hung from it.

Jesus made a statement in the gospels which, on first reading, seems entirely out of step with reality. “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). Does this sound like the Christian life?

If you were to look at my life, you would see me struggling, burdened. Perhaps, forgetting my sin was erased by Christ, I drag chains behind me as I struggle to get free of the past. Perhaps, forgetting how acquainted my Savior is with my sorrows, I bear them entirely alone, struggling to fix, understand, or transform them, and forgetting that Jesus is the One who makes all things new, who one day will transform these sorrows so that they will only ever look light and momentary. 

When Jesus says His yoke is easy, I don’t think He ever met those child-sized torture devices called yokes they used in colonial Williamsburg. He was referring to the tandem yoke oxen things. Meant for two. And when Jesus is the one sharing the yoke, I don’t feel the weight of the yoke, the wagon, or the load. I just feel a slight tug when I’m going too far afield, a giddy up or a whoa there. But no weight. Only when Jesus carries it can the yoke be easy and the burden light. When Jesus carries something, He carries it completely, He never drops it, and He never fails.

Excerpt from “Peace and How to Keep It.”