My Yoke is EASY.. My Burden is Light
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
As we move closer to the celebration of Easter, I hope and pray that we continue to take time and share in some of the best ways to celebrate Easter with our families. One of my favorite traditions of Easter is the opportunity we have to dye Easter eggs as a family. Hard to believe that this simple method continues to provide entertainment from boiling some eggs and using a little bit of vinegar and a color tablet to tell an amazing story. But that is exactly what we have the opportunity to do this week as we gather around our tables in quarantine. I know that if I asked ANY of you, no one would say that this is the way we pictured spending our Easter. Many of us have been planning our Easter for months. From the worship service, the clothes we are going to wear, the food that we are going to eat and the expectation of the people we are going to be able to see, whether family or friends, that only gather at Easter. It allows us to be surrounded by this sense of peace and celebrate the reality of a Risen Savior.
In some ways that is not going to happen this year... at least not in the ways that we have imagined. It does not mean that we cannot still get up and get dressed in our Easter best.. It does not mean that we cannot still have plans to spend time together breaking bread.. it may be a virtual meal, but we can still gather. But most importantly, I need us all to understand that we can DEFINITELY still celebrate EASTER. There is NOTHING that is going to stop me from celebrating EASTER. It's not about the date on the calendar that we should be celebrating, but the reality that the SON of the God of ALL creation suffered on the cross the ultimate death and three days later stepped out of the grave in FINAL VICTORY. So one of my challenges today is to let the world see that we can still celebrate EASTER. Get up... put on your best... take a photo and allow the world to see that NOTHING can separate us from telling the MOST IMPORTANT STORY of ALL TIME!!
Here is were we step into the verse for today. I think that many of us believe that we are on our own and separated from our connections in the world. We feel that since we are "quarantined" that we are completely separated or shut down from being able to reach out to the world. I just want to tell you NO! Jesus is speaking into our lives and our hearts in this scripture. He understands that we are all tired and in need of rest from the chaos that we live
in on a day to day basis. We just have not been able to see it because we are caught up in the middle of the whole chaos itself. Jesus says, "Come to me ALL who are weary and
burdened, and I will give you rest." That as we continue to feel the burdens to find new ways to minister, to teach, to learn, to communicate and to just exist within the confines of our space, God knows that this is not easy because we have grown so accustomed of being on our own and separated from our families, relationships and because of our daily schedules, for some of us God. Now is the time that we must return to the PEACE that is provided by a yoke that is not heavy. The yoke is there to provide protection, but also is the one thing that provides the new chick the greatest struggle of breaking out of its' shell. Jesus is saying that the CREATOR of all of the universe is there to protect and support you. The yoke is used to nurture, protect and provide strength until the day that we are ready to break out of our molds and begin stepping into the world. Instead of surrounding ourselves with so much stress and chaos about decisions we cannot even begin to make right now, take a step back... breathe and realize that God is preparing us to break out of our current situation with the power and strength to share the GOSPEL story to the world.
When we finally come to the realization that GOD really is in control and our calling is to pause and follow, we will find ourselves truly able to experience the freedom that is just on the other side of the boundaries or walls that we have built between us and God. Why do you think that the disciples ran away and hid inside their own walls. Because they thought all was lost and that now their lives were going to be in danger. Instead of preparing to break out and unleash the Gospel in a new way-which will happen at Pentecost- they were trying to find ways to hide and return to their old lifestyles without the world knowing them at all.
When the end of this scene in our story finally plays out, I pray that we will be able to see what really matters in our lives and not get stuck back into our regular routines and think all is OK. This is the time that we are able to break out of the normal patterns of this world.. to be transformed by the RENEWING of our minds in faith and take on a lost world (Romans 12:2 paraphrased). Jesus was never about rituals that were established by the world, but was about using the traditional teachings to show the world a new way to see and experience the Gospel. Jesus was trying to show us how to break out of the jails that we have surrounded ourselves with and challenge us to draw strength from HIS STORY to help the rest of the world to find a YOKE that is easy and a BURDEN that is light. None of this will matter if it doesn't change the way we think about our role in God's big plan. If we continue to live the same way, we will continue to be stuck in a YOKE that we will NEVER be able to break free from in the end. It will eventually cause us to finally give up the fight and die. Are you tired of the same ole same ole... if so, it's time to Let Go and Let GOD step into your story. I promise it will be the beginning of an AMAZING journey of PEACE and REST.