Some of you may have had this experience (growing rare)
For first-century Jews, it was instantly relatable
The Weight of the Yoke
To rabbis, the "yoke" was their teaching (the Yoke of Law)
Jesus called them out on having too heavy a yoke (uselessly burdensome teaching) [Luke 11:46]...and countered that His yoke was light and restful [Matthew 11:29]
Pulling the Pharisees' yoke (judgmental legalism) steals the joy out of life and weighs you down.
If we're not joyful in Christ, if our burdens are wearing us out, we may have become yoked to something other than Him, because He has taken a LOT of the load...
The Direction we are Traveling (Matthew 11:16-19)
"Pull" of "this generation" is always shifting: 17 ‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t mourn.’
And doesn't guarantee acceptance: 18 "For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ 19a The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard,... "
If we are just living for the latest fad or social issue or professional goal, we won't have a clear purpose or direction. Where is the meaning in life?
Even if you get "to the top" in this world (pay scale, power, fame), most everyone will just wait to see you fall.
You want meaning, take Christ's yoke and let Him lead you!
How to "take His yoke" upon us?
Attach yourself to Christ
Using marriage as a metaphor (following Paul's usage):
it shouldn't begin w/o knowing the other well, and doesn't last w/o constant effort
The Weight of Knowledge = learning His character, thoughts, and goals
Reading, listening to bible, sneak it in during the day
podcasts, sermons (yes, you can do a lot of this yourself)
Constant, Directed Effort = being aware if distance is creeping in, if you are pulling in different directions
That often takes OTHERS
Marriage example: talking with family & friends (in confidence) who are committed to helping your relationship work, who help us understand ourselves and the other person better
In walking with Christ, find persons who you believe have a close walk with Him (don't just ask your BFFs); they see from a different perspective
CHURCH: We've got to do better at providing a SAFE PLACE to do this!!!
Be wary of:
Pulls in incompatible directions
One (and perhaps the only) genius line of the SW prequels: "You're going somewhere I can't follow!"
External (lots of voices calling) and Internal (and lots of broken inclinations)
: we're like shopping carts with a wonky wheel...
A bad understanding of the goal
Nonreligious example: "Marriages are disposable and kids easily adapt."
Religious ex: "We're at church for what we get out of it."
Pulling for (& with) Christ
Marriage Metaphor concluded: Over the years if all goes right...
You know each others thoughts (finish other's sentences)
You exchange and merge behaviors
Sometimes you even start to look more alike
Others cannot think of one of you without thinking of both
And this is an excellent example for Christ's teaching:
At the end of the day, do I want to look more like this fractured world, or more like Jesus?
Don't I want to KNOW the God who made me?
What is a more fulfilling path? More meaningful? More consequential & lasting?
"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope." Jeremiah 29:11