Jesus told you to take his yoke upon you and learn from him.
For years I misunderstood those words. I saw a yoke to be a wooden harness placed over a beast’s shoulders to facilitate his pulling a carriage or a plow. I was partly right in that, a yoke is a wooden harness over the shoulders for facilitating pulling a plow or a carriage, but I was wrong in picturing it as fitting over just one beast’s shoulders.
The word yoke comes from an Indo-European word that means “to join as one.” The yoke Jesus spoke of is a double wooden harness. He is under one side of it, and he is asking you to get under the other side to pull with him.
He said it would be a learning experience for you. Throughout his life Jesus followed his Father’s wishes, conserving his strength by never fighting back. He asks you to learn to conserve your strength, by not fighting back.
One day fifty-five years ago I had a fine experience watching a solitary Korean farmer working his ox in a rice paddy. I had been taking a mountain path over foothills running down from the heights, when I stopped on a piney hillside to watch a man and his ox at work. At the end of a furrow that man would call out “Ee-ro” to tell the ox to turn right. It went on and on until supper time for both of them.
Their steady, effortless progress put me in mind of Francis Thompson’s Hound of Heaven. He moved “with unhurrying chase, and unperturbed pace; deliberate speed, majestic instancy.”
Misfortune cannot hurt you if yoked with Jesus, you learn to live with it.
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