“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’” Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
Years ago, I glanced through the kitchen window and noticed my little boy struggling to walk across the lawn. Minutes earlier, he'd raced out the door with a happy hop to help his daddy with yard work.
But the boy I watched through the glass was no longer skipping. He was stooping and stumbling, swaying and wobbling.
I abandoned my post at the sink and rushed toward my struggling boy. As I drew near, I noticed he was carrying a giant rock that appeared to weigh as much as his gangly 4-year-old frame. His face was flushed. His knees buckled. And his shoulders sagged.
When I spoke his name, he flopped on the grass and surrendered to quiet sobs. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
With a mixture of anger and sorrow, he told me he couldn't take another step. I studied the big rock on the ground beside him and nodded in understanding. Then I gently voiced a simple question: “Did your daddy ask you to carry that?”
A quiet pause dangled between us. My son glanced at the rock and met my gaze with sober eyes. “No,” he admitted with a sheepish shrug of his shoulders. “But I wanted to show Daddy how strong I was.”
My littlest boy is no longer little, but sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed by the load I’m carrying, I remember that long-ago moment in our yard. And I sense the Holy Spirit echoing the same question I once asked my preschooler: “Did your Daddy ask you to carry that?”
It’s an inquiry that drives me to prayer. And more often than not, when I take an honest look at the pieces of life that are weighing me down, I discover I’m carrying things my Father never asked me to pick up.
I'm lugging around worries He's asked me to yield.
I’m hauling around hurts that aren’t mine to heal.
I’m exhausted by assignments He’s never asked me to complete.
I’m collapsing beneath expectations that aren’t mine to meet.
And it’s there, in that place of humble contemplation, that the words of Matthew 11:28-30 offer me relief:
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’”
While the agrarian language in this passage may seem outdated, Jesus’ invitation is still relevant for us today.
A yoke is a device used to join a pair of animals that are working together. When Jesus beckons us to take His “yoke,” He’s inviting us to do life with Him rather than for Him. He’s making Himself available to partner with us, side by side and step by step.
While the phrase “easy to bear” (v. 30) may sound like a proclamation for a problem-free life, Jesus isn’t promising a detour around challenge or pain. He’s actually offering to make our load the right size for the journey. The original word for this little phrase can be translated as “manageable” or “well-fitted.” It paints a picture of a pack that is suited for the one who carries it.
What an amazing proposition! When we share our steps with Jesus — walking in His presence and following His Word — He promises that the load He places upon us will be fitted to the strength He imbues within us.
So, if the weight you’re carrying feels cumbersome, perhaps it’s time to sidle up to Jesus and ask Him to show you what was never yours to hold.
We have a Savior who has fashioned our load in love. A Father who doesn’t ask us to prove our strength. He simply invites us to rest in His.
Dear Jesus, I’m overwhelmed by the load I’m bearing. Help me set down what isn’t mine to carry. And teach me how to rest in Your strength rather than futilely strain in mine. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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When we start to wonder where God is and what He is doing, we need to remind ourselves of what is true: God always keeps His promises. And He has made promises to you. That’s why we’ve put together “Does God Care?: 10 Promises From God To Remember When You Feel Forgotten.” This free resource will help you make the shift from wondering if God cares about what you’re going through to seeing how He is intimately involved in every detail of your life. Click here to download now!
Connect with today’s devotion writer, Alicia Bruxvoort, in our Encouragement for Today Devotions Community group on Facebook! Today, we’ll share a special video from Alicia as she talks about her devotion, “Did Your Daddy Ask You to Carry That?” Join the group here to watch the video!
Need a prayer to lighten your load? You can download one at Alicia’s website by clicking here, or join her on Instagram for more encouragement.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the LORD—he will support you! God will never let the righteous be shaken!” (CEB)
Ask God to reveal anything you’re carrying that He never asked you to pick up. Then make a practical plan to set it down. How will you rest in Jesus this week? Share in the comments, and we’ll pray for one another.
© 2021 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.
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