Reading I: Zechariah 9:9-10
Reading II: Romans 8:9, 11-13
GOSPEL: Matthew 11:25-30

The Yoke’s on You!

All right gang, it’s story time! Once upon a time, there was a carpenter. No, not Jesus – a different carpenter. This carpenter had the task of creating yokes for farm animals. It was long, tedious work, from sunrise to sunset – but he kept at it. In order to make a yoke, the carpenter would have to go to the farm and get to know the cows and oxen that he would be making the yokes for. He’d look at their height, weight and how much each team of animals could carry together. From there, he’d take his measurements home and start to work on each of the yokes.

If the carpenter did his job correctly, each of the animals would be able to carry their load effectively and comfortably. If not, they’d be in great pain. But this carpenter was spot-on every time.

Sometimes in our Lives, We All Have Pain, We All Have Sorrow

There’s a quote floating around that many people have said, but it’s generally attributed to Mother Teresa: “God will never give me more than I can handle. I just wish He wouldn’t trust me so much.” It isn’t always easy to accept the burden that God gives to us, but like the carpenter in the story, God knows how much pressure and burden each of us is able to bear.

We’ve all faced tragedy in our lives. Sometimes it hurts more than we think we can stand. But when it hurts the most, that’s when we need to turn to Christ.

Lean On Me

In this weekend’s Gospel, Christ invites us to take up his lighter burden when we feel we are spiritually overworked. Jesus was not just divine but human as well, and he understands the trials and tribulations we go through here on earth. He went through them too. So he will be there for us, to help share the load, if we ask him to.

When You’re Not Strong

We see echoes of this invitation to share the load with Jesus even today. In Footprints in the Sand, a man is going through dark times in his life, seeing only one set of footprints, only to learn that he was not walking alone – God was carrying him. Bicycling with God tells us the story of letting God take the lead during the hard parts of our lives, leaving us with little to do but pedal.

If You’ll Just Call Me

God is always there, ready to shoulder the load. That’s the easy part. The hard part is truly recognizing that we can’t go it alone – that we need the help. In the gospel, Jesus hangs out with the humble, and wants us to be among them. But humbling ourselves – even in the sight of the Lord – is often difficult to do.

But like so many other things in life, the load doesn’t get any easier if we sit around complaining about it. It gets easier when we do something about it. That “something” is opening ourselves up to Christ’s presence in our lives. Once we can do that, the load becomes tons lighter.

Sure life is rough, but God doesn’t give us more than we can handle with His help. But if you can’t humble yourself and lean on him, then the yoke is definitely on you!

Life Applications:

Have you ever felt unfairly burdened? How did you deal with it?
How often do you ask God for help with your load?
How can you help others share their load?

Original article by Jacki Popadich, 2002 – 2020.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.