“Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS” Matthew 11:29
Yoke – How can we enter into the second rest that Jesus promises? Well, not by sitting under a tree! Jesus says that rest comes when we are bound to Him. Just think about that picture for a minute. Most of us would never consider being yoked to someone else as a means of finding rest. The picture looks more like pulling in tandem. That’s the picture of the Greek word, zugos – something that binds together. It still sounds like work, doesn’t it? Of course, now we know that Jesus’ point of view is Hebraic. Rest is not ceasing from activity. It is relaxing under restraint. Being bound to Jesus means that He does exactly what His name implies. He rescues us in the middle of our burdens. That’s the Hebraic view of yasha, remember? Rescue comes to me where I am. It’s not an escape valve. It’s not an “Easy Button.” It’s sharing the load.
There are two great worldviews when it comes to responsibilities and obligations. The first is the world of the individual. I am responsible for my own destiny. I carry the load. I shoulder my own consequences. I make choices based on what’s good for me. This view dominates the world system. In one form or another, it has been around since the day after Adam and Eve left the garden.
The second great worldview is God’s perspective. This worldview is shared responsibility and shared obligation. I am who I am because I belong to a community. That community may be called the family of God, the elect, the house of Israel, the church or the bride of Christ. The names are interchangeable, but the concept remains the same. I am intimately and inextricably linked to all my brothers and sisters in the family. I do not stand alone. What happens to me, happens to you and vise versa. Community comes before individuality. I become who I am in relationship with others.
Jesus invites me to join Him in this community of the rescued. The yoke that I take is bound to Him – and bound to every other sibling in the kingdom of heaven. The rest that I discover is shared life, not isolated individualism. My second wind comes when I am bound to others. So, here’s a hint. Whenever I am inclined to pursue those activities that separate me from community, I am moving away from rest. I will never find my deepest sense of purpose and my greatest enjoyment in work in isolation because I was designed to be in relationship with God and with others. When I take the yoke that Jesus offers, He puts me into community with all other burden bearers who belong to Him. That’s when I am able to discover what I was made to do because my doing it will be of benefit to all those other people who lift me up.
There is no rest without restraint. Rest is not achieving the dream of independence. It is exactly the opposite: dependent on Jesus and connected to family.
Topical Index: Rest