Wednesday July 13, 2005
Bearing Our Burdens
Imagine two inexperienced hikers setting out together on a ten-mile trail. The first hiker carries a one-hundred-pound backpack while the other holds a one-pound water bottle. We know who would reach the end of the trail with the most energy left—the water bottle carrier. If the person lugging the backpack finished at all, he would be exhausted and sapped of strength. When confronted with heavy burdens, we believers can go through life like the backpacker or the water carrier. Our choice of whom to emulate is based on our response to Jesus’ call, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden” (Matthew 11:28).
Nowhere in the passage does Jesus Christ promise to remove our burdens. Notice the second hiker carries something, even though it is just a small bottle. The promise is rest and a new yoke. The image here is of a single slab of wood designed to evenly distribute the weight of the load two oxen were pulling. Jesus offers to share our burden in order to ease the weight of it around our own necks. The problem may remain in our life for a long time, but the heaviness of worrying about it is gone.
Bars are full of people who refuse to accept the offer of an easier yoke and help carrying our burden. They believe gritting their teeth and struggling under their load will make them stronger. But real strength is found in humbly admitting we need God’s help. When we do, He gently slides the backpack from our shoulders and replaces it with freedom.
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