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 11:29-30)
I am a city girl; the only time in my life I have lived in a place with less than a million people was my 6 and 1/2 years in college and grad school. So, the image of these verses did not make a lot of sense in my mind. I then saw a picture of yoked oxen; nothing about yoked oxen looked easy or light.
While in China, I had some partners at work who grew up on a farm. I asked them about training young oxen. I learned a few interesting things.
- A young ox is not considered oxen until they reach a certain level of maturity; however, they start learning what a yoke is from a young age.
- How’s the learning to become an oxen work? When they are being trained as an oxen, they are placed with a bigger stronger ox. The yoke then rests almost entirely on the bigger stronger ox. When I asked my friend about that he said, “Oh, you mean Big John. He walks straight as an arrow, despite any obstacle.” I asked him if the smaller oxen feels the yoke … and the response, “only when he pulls away.”
- What happens as the smaller ox gets bigger and stronger? Then he can share the load and then be taught to train younger, less mature oxen.
- Do any oxen pull alone? Yes … they could never learn to walk with his trainer, therefore he has to carry the whole load.
How perfect is Christ’s imagery? Train your children in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
Christ bears the load … unless we pull away.
If we pull away constantly, then we have to carry the burden alone.
If we become mature in Christ, we share the burden by discipling others.
We can never reach the maturity and strength of Christ. He therefore, always carries the load, if we walk with him.
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