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]
Most of us associate a yoke with the thing that’s placed around the neck of an ox in order to pull a load behind it. At the same time, a Jewish yoke was the set of rules that were to be followed as you lived out your faith. Either way, the mental picture is pretty clear – it can be a burden to carry.
We can struggle with yokes of our own as well – the expectations of others. Whether employers, friends, family, neighbors, or whomever, many people place yokes on us, and after a while, we can really be dragged down by their expectations of us.
This is where Christ’s words are so comforting – I love you for who you are. Don’t worry about trying to make everyone happy; love me, and let my love flow through you to others.
When we are able to stop trying to meet everyone’s expectations, it’s like a breath of fresh air for our soul, a tremendous burden lifted off – we are able to rest in His love. The thing to remember is that, while we rest in Christ, the expectations that others place on us probably won’t change. But the effect they have on us will.