Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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Take my yoke upon you

Take my yoke upon you. (Matthew 11:29)

Have you ever talked to a newly engaged woman? Beaming with excitement, she eagerly shows you her ring and can’t stop talking about her dreams for the future. She has agreed to join someone on a lifelong journey, and the prospect fills her with joy and eager anticipation.

In the reading from Mt 11, Jesus is not giving us an engagement ring, but he is inviting us to be yoked with him. He is inviting us to join him on an exciting lifelong journey.

Now, the word “yoke” probably doesn’t conjure up feelings of joy and excitement, and for good reason. A yoke is a heavy piece of equipment used to harness a team of animals for difficult labor. Even in Scripture, it tends to have a negative connotation. For example, God describes Israel’s captivity in Egypt as a “yoke” (Leviticus 26:13), and Paul talks about the “yoke” of the Law (Galatians 5:1). But that all changed with Jesus. His yoke is altogether different. Instead of laying a heavy burden on us, he offers us grace and freedom: freedom from the power of sin; and grace to become more like him.

Being yoked to Jesus means putting ourselves under his direction: he sets the course, and we follow. And as we do, we find him walking beside us at every step. He helps us to hold our tongues or choose encouraging words. He moves us to be more charitable toward the people around us. He gives us the peace we need to endure trying situations. When we are yoked to Jesus, he helps us bear every burden.

Today consider Jesus’ invitation to accept his yoke. Think about his offer of grace and his promise to teach you and guide you. When you are ready to say, “Lord, I want to take your yoke and learn from you;” then, every morning consecrate yourself to him anew. Tell him you want to be his disciple and to learn to live as he would. To help remind you about his yoke, during the day pause and recall that you are yoked with Jesus. Remember that he is walking beside you, carrying your burdens and helping you walk in true freedom. He is with you at every step.

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