Who do you look up to in your life? Who do you admire? As you look back upon your life, who was it who walked alongside to encourage or inspire you to grow? For some of us it was (or is) a teacher, for others it is a mentor, for many, many more it is our parents! We are the better for their influence. Godly parents are a treasure!
All of the Godly influencers remind us of and point us to Jesus. Jesus invites us into a relationship with Him. Last week, we focused on the theme of “rest” in Matthew 11:28-30. Returning to the same passage, we shift our focus to theme of being “yoked” with Jesus. Jesus says:” Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart…”
A short time ago, farmers, in many cultures ploughed their fields and planted their crops for another season. While modern equipment is now widely used, many farmers around the world still utilize horses, cows and oxen to do their important work.
In Jesus day, oxen were used to plough and prepare the fields. Every season, a farmer would need to train the young oxen for the work they were to do. The most effective method of training the young animals was through the use of yoke. As the young and old oxen were brought side-by-side, a yoke was placed across their shoulders. The farmer began as the oxen moved ahead together, the experienced ox’s steadiness brought the young one in line – the yoke would chafe when the youngster desired to move his own way. Gradually, through the growing pains, the youngster would catch on. The yoke chafed less as the youngster came in line.
As we look back at that Gospel reading, Jesus is calling us into a unique relationship of being yoked with Him. We, like the young ox, are invited to not simply walk with Him but, be yoked or “aligned” with Him. In our relationship with Him, we learn about Him because we are closely walking with Him. We learn from Him, because we now see and are doing the very things that He has done.
In a culture that trumpets the supreme value of individualism, while at the same time, scoffs at traditional forms of authority, this image perhaps might seem at least objectionable. However, who is there better to learn from than the One who makes life possible? Who is there better to be attached to than the One who holds us and our future in the palm of His hand?
I urge you not simply to know who Jesus is, but to walk in step with Him so that you will learn and grow as strong as an ox for Him!
In the Peace of Christ, Rob+