Come to Me, all you 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.
~ Matthew 11:28 - 29
This morning I woke up with the thought that I seem to be "carrying" a lot of things on my shoulders right now. Some of the things I am carrying are actually weighing me down, both physically and spiritually. A few of the these things are also quite painful.
As I sort through everything, I realize that some are strictly my own pain, but many are the pain that I can identify as being something that God struggles with me to understand. In the gospel of Matthew we are reminded to, "Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden."
Matthew continues with the words of Jesus, declaring that by doing so we shall find "rest," for our souls.
I am uneasy, and many others who surround my life are uneasy as well. When I think of Jesus, I realize that the burdens that Jesus bears at this point involves the weight of all humanity. And then I realize, Jesus has carried the weight of humanity's burdens since the very beginning. Even as the world has grown in population, Jesus has allowed for the weight of all humanity.
Within the text, we are invited to bear this weight with Jesus as well. Somehow it is described as being "light," in weight, or somehow it is meant to make things better for us. I am challenged to think that I should cast more weight on the shoulders of Jesus, while somehow, reaching out and inviting the weight of all humanity to be added to what I have known, witnessed, and experienced. I feel both sorrow and gratefulness for a Savior who has yet to proclaim, "I can't take this any longer."
There exists a great mystery of how this relationship bears fruit. I am reminded that a yoke requires balance, and strength. That carrying the weight of others must be distributed in a way that I can both hold it steady and move at the same time. A yoke is about being able to carry something from one place to another. It is not merely taking hold and just standing still.
Perhaps that is why in the sharing there is finally the surrendering that does take place. Taking on the yoke of Jesus is also about surrendering that which we carry. I am reminded that I am met with God's love every time that I find that I am no longer able to carry these things alone.
I am also reminded time and time again that I must surrender inwardly, where Christ dwells, and in doing so, I relinquish myself and embrace the embodiment of Christ within.
It is then that I suddenly realize that "rest to the soul," is about finding a place of peace. It's not always about relinquishing the problem, but finding a peaceful way of working through it. It's no longer "just my burden." It is a shared understanding of what the "burden," or "problem," is and that with the help of Christ, I might find a way to move forward while taking the yoke of Christ with me.
It is not always about ignoring the load, it is about finding a way to carry the load in a way that it no longer has power, heaviness, or a paralyzing presence in our life.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.