Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Life Lessons learned from Jesus Christ

Learning from Jesus

A devotional by Karen Marstaller

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 
–Matthew 11:28 (ESV)

Many times, the promise of Jesus Christ in Matthew 11:28 (ESV) comforts us during rough patches in our lives. He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

These beautiful words lift our trembling hearts and fainting limbs when we face fearful circumstances or difficult decisions. We cling to Christ’s promises to provide rest and peace in the storm. He is right there with us.

The next two verses of Matthew 11 continue His directive. In verses 29-30, Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Wait a minute. A yoke? Seriously?

When studying westward expansion in the United States, it’s easy to imagine the Conestoga wagons that transported half a nation across the lonesome prairies.

Teams of oxen, mules, and horses pulled each wagon. The success or failure of such a move depended upon the strength and stamina of the beasts that were yoked into the harnesses and hitched to the wagons. As the great migration headed out, the animals strained against the weight behind them until the bulky wagons began to roll. Uphill or down, the long string of emigrants moved farther from their original homes to the places that awaited them at the end of the endless journey they dared to undertake.

If the animals in the trains were yoked properly, they moved unrelentingly west. If they were mismatched, or if the yokes were rough or misshapen, the wagon had to stop. The animals, injured or afraid, simply could not continue until the problem was remedied.

Now let’s go back to Jesus. He tells us to slip into the harness with Him. Walk step-by-step with Him unswervingly; obediently putting one foot in front of the other as we work in tandem with the Lord. Along the way, we learn how to live abundantly. We discover how to let Him lead us, how to grow in faithfulness and love, and how to keep our eyes focused on our ultimate home in Heaven.

Jesus then refers to Himself as “gentle and lowly.” Jesus, the King of all creation, the promised Messiah, the Lord of Lords, and the Savior of the world didn’t pursue fame. His promised rest for His children began after His death on a rough and misshapen cross. After His resurrected body could no longer be contained in a tomb, He rose again! Jesus is Alive! His sacrifice bought our salvation—His gentle rest for our souls. He won the battle over sin and death, and now He calls His believers to “yoke up.”

An “easy” yoke isn’t fluffy; it’s one that fits well. When we take on the yoke of Jesus and go through life beside Him, He uniquely shapes His yoke to fit us. When it’s perfectly suited, whatever work He gives us to do becomes lighter—easier. It’s manageable, and with His help we become productive children in God’s kingdom.

Today, in the middle of our worldwide pandemic, Christ’s call to us is vital.

As we slip into a side-by-side relationship with our Lord, the work that we do becomes more meaningful and more relevant to the hurting ones who surround us.

People everywhere need the rest that Jesus promises, and He allows us to share His gift of hope with them. Yoked with Jesus, He multiplies our frail efforts. We begin to listen with His ears, and to see with His eyes, and to show His love with our hands and our hearts. And always, we focus on Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)

What is my response to His yoke?

Let it be, “I’m in, Lord Jesus! Hitch me up!”

Author Bio:

During this time of quarantine, Karen enjoys reading, writing, and connecting with friends and family via phone calls, texts, emails, blogs, live-streams, and video conferencing. 

She is grateful that the Lord has provided so many ways for humankind to stay in community, even when we are all hunkering down in our homes.

Karen says, “In this unprecedented time, we know that He has prepared us for such a time as this! To God be all the glory!”

You can reach Karen by emailing her at this address:

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