“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
There are many types of burdens we may try to carry. Consider the burdens of sorrow, pain, grief, fear, worry, and— above all—sin that plague us. In today’s text, Christ promises hope for the “heavy laden” if we will but come to Him and accept His gracious offer of salvation and cleansing. He will either remove the burden, lighten it, or give us strength to bear it, whichever is best. His offer of rest includes inward peace even in times of trouble here, and perfect peace hereafter.
It may sound paradoxical, but we can actually lighten our load by taking up His “yoke.” “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). In our text, Christ said we are to learn of Him, thus emulating His meekness and lowliness in heart as we carry our cross. If we accept His yoke in humility because of our love for Him, we can endure every hardship and bear every burden with hope and patience.
Even though we are children of the King, we still have work to do. It has always been so, for even sinless Adam and Eve were responsible for tending the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). God knew that idleness and lack of responsibility were improper. Likewise, in the future we will have responsibilities given to us according to the handling of our responsibilities in this life (Matthew 25:21). We may be coregents of the kingdom (Revelation 20:6), but we will still have our responsibilities.
The burdens He gives us now are not oppressive, but with His help, and with the proper attitude, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. It is a “rest” to work for Him. JDM