Friday Devotional: Choosing to be under the weight of the wrong yoke.

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I have said that when God gives men certain body parts that He also gives them certain responsibilities. One of those unfortunate responsibilities is helping women move from one domicile to another. I recently had the obligation privilege of spending a Saturday morning helping a friend girl (that’s not a typo) move from a house to a fourth-story apartment.

This particular moving job didn’t fall at a great time (as if there is a good time to move someone.) I was out late and running on less sleep than I would have liked. The week left me downright exhausted. We were hustling so that we could get to an event on time immediately afterwards. Plus, I was walking through some draining emotional situations that left me further beat down. This perfect storm put me in a less-than-stellar mood.

On one of our later loads, my mood started to show itself outwardly. After we had dragged our feet a little bit, which further frustrated me, a pair of guys grabbed an unhinged door out of the truck bed. Since there wasn’t much left and I was in a hurry, I got the bright idea of carrying a queen-sized mattress by myself.

I was angry, and I decided to take on a weight I couldn’t handle. I fought the mattress as it bent and bounced around. I crashed into the walls and door ways multiple times on the long walk to the apartment. Each mishap only made my attitude worse. My friends asked if I needed help, but I promptly blew them off, as if I had something to prove. Shortly thereafter I repented and asked for forgiveness, which they immediately extended.

Fast-forward 24 hours to my Sunday morning church service. I brought many of the same burdens with me. Still exhausted, still emotionally beaten down and now frustrated that some of my old fleshly tendencies got the best of me the day before during the move. While the band led us in worship, I prayed and pleaded for the Lord to minister to me in this situation. A familiar passage came to my mind.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I got a little choked up when I quickly made the connection between that passage and my bone-headed effort to carry that mattress. In my flesh, I literally took upon my shoulders a bulky, cumbersome weight that I didn’t need to carry. It was a weight that Jesus didn’t want me to carry. It only wore me down even more. Taking my burdens on my own shoulders is a futile and frustrating endeavor, and I saw that displayed in the form of that stupid mattress.

Jesus invites me to put down the mattress and take on his yoke. It’s easy. The mattress wasn’t. It’s light. The mattress wasn’t. Under Jesus’ yoke, he offers me respite from my circumstances. I have an eternal invitation to give him my burdens and take his yoke upon me. He teaches me with tenderness, walks with me through trial and restores me.

I won’t soon forget the feelings I had under the weight of the mattress. I was angry, defeated and exhausted all at once. That’s the antithesis of what Jesus has for me when I take on his yoke and surrender to him my circumstances. Under the yoke of my Savior I find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Within the confines of his yoke, we are free and have life abundantly.

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