Bible Reading: Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Imagine the scene in Israel that Jesus is alluding to here, though it could have happened in any agricultural community before the industrial revolution and is still happening in some communities around the world today. Two oxen are harnessed together by a wooden yoke over their shoulders and the yoke is fastened to a plough which they are pulling up and down a field. Together they are ploughing up the ground before the seed is sown for the coming harvest. It is important work, it is heavy work, but the burden is shared between them.
What may not be apparent at first sight is that one of the oxen is older and experienced. He has done this many times before. He knows the field, he knows the routine, he will lead and guide, and he will set a steady and sustainable pace. The other ox is younger and inexperienced and it is all new to him. He has plenty of strength and enthusiasm and would be inclined to rush ahead, but they are a team together and he is following the older ox and learning as he goes.
In our manic world today, with all its busyness and activity, with all its information overload and competing opinions and with the constant bleeps of texts and notifications, into this world Jesus again gives the invitation, ‘Come to me and I will give you rest’.
In Jesus we see a balance between work and rest. Whether it is employed work, work in the home, work in the church or work in the community, finding a balance between work and rest, according to Jesus, is good for our soul. And by soul I think Jesus means, not the part of us that lives on after death, but our emotions, the core of our being. What Jesus was talking about then is what we might call ‘Wellbeing’ today.
In our relationship with Jesus, let us remember that we are the younger ox and that he is the one with the knowledge and the experience, so let us learn from him. He will gently lead us and guide us; he will share the load with us and he will set for us a steady and sustainable pace.
Whatever field you are ploughing, you don’t need to plough it on your own, you can plough it with Jesus, you can share the load with him and you can come to him and find rest for our souls.
Lord Jesus, I come to you, today to find rest in a busy and noisy world.
Give me the grace to learn from you, and the wisdom to share my burdens with you.
My soul finds rest in God alone