To be a disciple means taking on the discipline of a master, doing whatever he or she tells you to do. The Pharisees and teachers of the law demanded much of their followers, to keep the Law of Moses perfectly in every particular. Nuances of love, mercy and relationship often fell by the wayside. The burdens of these demands were heavy indeed, and never satisfactorily met - except by the Teachers, of course.
We can say the same of the demands our culture places upon us – to be more productive, more successful, more financially secure, more fashionable, attractive, sweet-smelling, popular… you name it. The new law is no less onerous than the old. And so Jesus’ invitation is alive for us as well.
We too take on a yoke when we take on Christ’s life, as oxen are fitted with an apparatus so they can pull a cart. We offer our obedience to him and take on the ministry of being his apostles, his witnesses – proclaiming the Good News, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, freeing the captives. Like his original disciples, we may be called to give up things or people we find precious for rewards only known later.
But Jesus says his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. Unlike the burden of the Law-bound, his is the yoke of freedom in God. Unlike the arrogant Teachers, he is gentle and humble in heart; he was never ashamed to eat with obvious sinners and people on the margins.
Do you want to find rest for your soul? In many of us, our soul feels restless, especially in a culture that does not privilege space for the spiritual.
Have you experienced knowing Jesus as restful or stressful?
What can you do today to find rest for your soul?
Whether you are in the midst of work stress, or easing into a summer vacation, I suggest you start with some “soul rest” time in Jesus’ presence. Hand off your burdens and take on his promise of peace, and then spread it around.