Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
~ Matthew 11: 28-30
Why do some people treat their faith like a burden?
We've all met folks like this. The daily struggle to find joy. The stipulations they place on themselves to be holy or righteous.
Sometimes when I meet people like this I want to know what their mentors must have been like. Who is it that taught them that unless there is constant struggles or moments of "sweat like blood," rolling from their foreheads then they obviously aren't living the right life.
There is a moment in the movie Sister Act where the nuns are comparing their experiences and one of them shares, "those were the days," when referring to how rough she had it while living out her faith.
I won't lead you to believe that living out your faith is always cut out to be easy. If that were the case the world would be a much different place.
Every decision you face would be simple. Sacrifice would be a theory, and suffering would be non-existent.
It's not that easy. However, Christ invites us each to take on the challenge of living out our faith, reminding us, "look, it shouldn't be that hard, and to show that I'm telling the truth, I'd like to help you out today. Give me your troubles, struggles, and concerns, and in turn, let me give you the opportunity to see what it's like for you to carry, or shall I say, put on me."
The challenge should not be that we carry the load of Christ, but the manifestation of Christ in us. To allow Christ to be seen in us. Not the struggles of living a Christ-like life, but to walk with Christ, allowing the Spirit to lead and direct.
Righteousness and holiness are signs of that life, and should not be seen as something that should be a burden.
The manifestation of Christ in us is meant to be possible. Take on the image of Christ, and give the struggles you face a break. Be gentle and humble in heart and know that God will take care of all you worry about.
Dear Lord, help me to remember that living out my faith is meant to be easy. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.