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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“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.”—Matthew 11:29 (NIV)
I love giving my kids piggyback rides and putting them up on my shoulders. They always have a blast. But as the months and years go by, they keep getting heavier. And it’s only going to get worse as they get older. I’m a fairly strong guy, but at some point, my kids will reach a weight—and I will reach an age—my shoulders can no longer sustain.
Life has a way of doing that to us, doesn’t it? And I’m not just talking about physically, either . . . As the years go by, the weight of the world begins to bear down on us. To be honest, it feels like life gets heavier and heavier every day. It wears you down. Just scrolling through Facebook or Twitter is becoming burdensome. Where is the relief? Today’s verse tells us that Jesus is where it’s at!
In the verse prior, He invites all those who have been beaten down by the many burdens of life to come to Him. In exchange, He offers us rest and relief. He tells us His yoke is easy and light (Matthew 11:30), which is the opposite of our yoke (zygon: “a heavy burden,” comparable to the heavy yokes resting on the necks of oxen).
I love this verse because it explains so much about the character of our Savior and what it truly means to follow Him. He is gentle, which refers to exercising God’s strength under His control, and humble in heart, which describes a person who depends on the Father, whose heart is fixed on Him, rather than self. We can learn from Him, because He is teaching us where true strength and power come from. Whereas the ways of the world only serve to add weight to our yoke, His teaching provides rest. We can take His yoke upon us and it will feel as light as a newborn riding on our shoulders, because the strength to carry it comes from depending on the Lord. It’s a strength that’s made perfect in our weakness.
This doesn’t mean our problems go away, or that new trials and tribulations won’t ever come our way again. On the contrary, Jesus tells us clearly we will have trouble in this world. But it does tell us that when we lean on Him, when we follow His example, when we rely on Him, all things are endurable because He carries us through. On this, my friends, we can always find rest!
DIG: Read Matthew 11:25–30.
DISCOVER: How do you deal with your burdens?
DISPLAY: If you are feeling burdened by anything in your life right now (chances are you may be able to think of a few burdens), spend time in prayer asking the Lord for His strength, guidance, and rest. Ask Him to carry you through whatever trial you are going through, acknowledge your weakness and need for Him, and then have faith that His Spirit—your helper—will fill you with the power and strength of the Lord!
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.