People carry heavy burdens. Some burdens are the responsibilities of life. Some burdens are hurts from the past or present. Some burdens are anxiety about the future. Some burdens are sins and addictions. Some burdens are major challenges that people face at home, at school, at work, or in the community. People carry heavy burdens.
Does your Heavenly Father want you to bear these burdens alone?
God offers help. Jesus wants to help you. He is your great burden-bearer. The One who bore the weight of your sin on the cross offers to carry your daily burdens. He has a way for you to live your life un-burdened.
28 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Come to the right place. The right place to take your burdens is to Jesus. He tells us to do this in Matthew 11:28. He says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Some people may think that God is not concerned about their burdens, but that could not be further from the truth. What concerns you concerns God. He cares about you. In prayer, bring your burdens to Him. Lay them out before Him and leave them there. He will give you rest, peace, shalom. Don’t try to carry your burdens alone. Bring them to Jesus.
Take up the right yoke. In an agricultural sense, a yoke is the piece of equipment that a farm animal wears on its shoulders to stay on the right path that the farmer intends for them to walk. When the animal wears the yoke, he goes exactly where the farmer wants him to go.
In the first century, there was another usage of the term “yoke.” A rabbi’s system of teaching was known as his “yoke,” signifying the path that he wanted his students to walk. Many of the teachers of Jesus’ day put heavy, legalistic yokes upon their followers.
Jesus told His followers that His yoke was different than the others. He said that yoke is easy, and the burden that He gives His followers is light. He tells us to take up His yoke (v29). He shows us the path to follow. He is the path. He is the way.
If we try to ease our burdens in any other way, we will get worn out over time. Some people try to ease their burdens in ways such as right thinking, religious activity, good behavior, or leaning on friends and family, but in the end these do not erase the burden because they rely too heavily upon people — us, or someone else — and people have a limited amount of energy, wisdom and strength. Now, it is true that we are to help carry each other’s burdens (see Galatians 6:1-5), but this does not mean we rely totally on others. If you take up the yoke of self-reliance or people-reliance, your burdens will remain on you. That is not the right yoke.
Others try to take up the yoke of escapism. They engage in self-destructive relationships and activities to try to forget about their burdens. But in the end, their burdens are still there. The yoke of escapism becomes an extremely heavy burden of its own. That is not the right yoke.
Learn from the right Person. The right Person is Jesus. Take up His yoke and learn from Him. He takes your heavy burden and He gives you a light burden. He shows you what to think, how to feel, what to believe, what to do, what to say, how to respond and how to live. Day by day, every moment of every day, He carries your burdens. Day by day, every moment of every day, He carries you.
He is humble and gentle. When we learn from Him, we find rest for our souls. We learn from Him by walking with Him and hearing from Him through the Bible, His Word.
The kind of rest He brings is more than just “taking it easy” kind of rest. The kind of rest He brings is the “I feel refreshed!” kind of rest. He leads us on the right path, and He carries our burdens.
That is what it looks like to live un-burdened. It doesn’t mean that the burdens are not real. It simply means that we have learned to give them to Jesus.