Monday, 19 April 2010

Come to me all who are heavy laden...

...this bike is too small for this load...

... I never asked to be a beast of burden... it much further?..

...grit your teeth and bear it..,

...and the prize goes to this one - for ambition? or folly?

These last few weeks I have felt that I am carrying too many burdens and I've had a few days when I've just thought I can't cope. One of my favourite bible verses is Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am humble in spirit and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The promise of being relieved of a burden and given rest when weary is an enticing one. The image of a yoke in the next line is perhaps less appealing. A yoke has negative connotations of being tied, oppressed and constrained. However, when oxen are pulling a weight, a yoke apparently offers control; it harnesses the power of two together and allows them to brake more easily. Familiar with carpentry, Christ would have known that a well designed yoke, one carefully measured and tailored to the animal in question, made all the difference. A badly designed yoke causes chaffing and sores, can impede an animal’s vision if it pushes the head too low and hinders rather than helps.

God’s yoke is easy, one bible version I found rendered the verse, and “my yoke fits perfectly.” I don’t know literally how accurate this version is, but I think it catches the meaning of the verse.

So, we are not promised a life free from burdens, but we are promised that they will be light and that the God, who knows us from the womb, hand crafts our yoke, although there are certainly plenty of times that I, along with the rest of us, certainly don’t feel that way!


  1. Rob Bell also explains that a Rabbis teaching is referred to as his yoke - something I blogged a bit about here:

  2. Interesting post. Always glad to learn something new.