Read: Matthew 11:28-30, Hebrews 4:1-11

Take My Yoke

Jesus regularly invited people to follow him. Normally, his invitation sounded something like, “Whoever wants to be my apprentice, must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow after me.” But in another famous iteration on his well-known invitation, Jesus appealed to all the tired, weary, and burned out, and simply said, “Come, find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Jesus’ open invite is to a life of rest, not just for our bodies – we can get that from a doctor or a pill – but at a far deeper level, for our souls.

And yet, his imagery of an “easy yoke” is a bit odd. Far removed from an agrarian economy, we forget that a yoke is a tool for work; it was used to harness oxen together to plow a field. That sounds like the last thing a burned-out worker needs – the tired among us don’t want a yoke, we want a vacation!

But Jesus is wise beyond comprehension; he gets – better than we often do – that life is an unending series of burdens. There’s no way around the weight of responsibility that is life this side of resurrection. What we need isn’t an escape from that weight, but a way to carry it with ease and joy. That’s what Jesus offers – a way to carry the weight of life with a straight back and smile on your face.

In the way of Jesus, Sabbath is a 24-hour practice of restful worship by which we cultivate a spirit of restfulness all week long.

As we near the weekend, and look forward to a day of rest and worship, remember: there are Sabbath moments all through each day. Little opportunities to slow down, and rest under Jesus’ easy yoke. To un-hurry to the life that’s waiting for all of us in him.

Exercise for the day: Find your Sabbath moment(s)

Look for little Sabbath moments today – when you first wake up, on your lunch break, before a meeting, etc. When those opportunities come – forgo the urge to reach for your phone, and instead, reach out in your mind for God, and settle into his rest.

Reading question: How is tiredness affecting my experience of Jesus’ kingdom? How can I move toward Sabbath as both a weekly practice and a way of life?

We would like to thank WaterBrook & Multnomah Publishing for providing this plan.