Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Take My Yoke Upon You

Recently I was thinking about a scripture that I have loved at different points in my life, but I gained some new perspectives on it that make it even cooler. I thought I would share them here.

This is the scripture:
 Matthew 11:28-30
 "28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

In these verses, Jesus Christ is asking us to come pull His load with Him. I think this is cool for several reasons: He wants us to come be a part of His work. He is inviting us to not only be a part of His work, but to actually work right next to Him. 

I remembered hearing about teams of oxen in a talk by Edward Dube. In a contest to drag a five-ton sledge 3 feet, the teams of oxen who worked together did better than the stronger oxen that didn't work together.

By Klaaschwotzer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
In this picture of two oxen yoked together, notice how close they are to each other. They can't even look to the side without the other one knowing about it. They are also both facing forward, and are both squared against the load they're pulling. I imagine the two oxen learning to become a team. One being a little slower to hit the yoke, getting distracted, or trying to pull the load all by himself.

When we act on the invitation to work next to Christ and take His yoke upon us, we're accepting similar conditions. We won't be able to hide our imperfections or laziness from Him (not that we ever can, but we will be more aware that He sees them), nor will we be able to slack off without feeling how it affects His work.

Sounds a little scary, actually. To have be working right next to the only perfect person to ever walk the earth, who is also the Son of God. Could be intimidating, even when your heart's in the right place. But then I thought of this scripture, and I think it sheds a different light on the situation.

Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

So when we get closer to Christ, He will show us our weaknesses. BUT He shows them to us so we will be humble enough to accept His correction and help so we can improve. So our weaknesses can become strengths. And in Matt. 11:29, He says that He is meek and lowly in heart—approachable.

Christ isn't worried about taking a tally of how many times we mess up. We're on the same team, and what He wants is for each of us to learn to be a team with him. To learn how to pull His load with Him. Ok, that's cool. So the process of learning to be a team with Him will be hard, but the end goal is to . . . be a team with Christ. And He's the one offering to be there helping us—being yoked to us—every step of the way!

He wants us to improve, and just like in a team of oxen, where one ox can help the other keep moving forward, He will help keep us on the right track if we accept His yoke. And I've found that that is the case for me—when I consistently read scriptures and pray, I feel the Holy Ghost more in my life, and receive more invitations to delve deeper in the scriptures and to do a little better. I'm sure there is so much more helping power I could tap into if I would just commit to it!

I like having this visual of a team of oxen yoked together as a metaphor for my relationship with Christ. It seems too good to be true, to work side by side with the Savior with Him promising to teach me how to be a better team member, but He's asking me to come—so why not answer?

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