Jesus, Your yoke is easy? Your burden is light? Really? When I think of the toil and struggle of my life stretching back even into childhood I cannot hold back the tears. And scripture even verifies this.
In the world we will have tribulation.
It is through much tribulation that we enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
With much wisdom comes much sorrow.
We are called into a fellowship of suffering with Jesus Christ.
Those who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
The list goes on, but you get the picture.
So how can Jesus say His yoke is easy and His burden light? In what sense are we able to find rest for our souls?
First, note that this passage in Matthew 11 is preceded by “come unto me all you who labor…” and assumes that we are in fact laboring. Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner (God) who hires laborers (us) for His vineyard (the world.)
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Matthew 20:1
In the above parable all laborers are paid the same wage no matter what time of day they were hired; so we rejoice because last minute reprieves are possible. A good example is the thief on the cross next to Jesus who repented in the nick of time.
Obviously being a laborer in His vineyard does nothing to guarantee our salvation, for what labor did that thief perform? Nevertheless, once we are hired (saved) we are now, among other things, His laborers.
“Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” 1 Corinthians 4:8
So, we are called to be His laborers, or His workers 1Co 3:9, 2Co 6:1, Phl 4:3, 3Jo 1:8.
Many times I cried out to Jesus and asked Him, “Jesus, how is Your burden light? In what sense is your yoke easy?” But when I saw this passage in the context of labor I realized that when it comes to the fruit of our labors in Him, there is absolutely nothing I can do. He alone grants the increase.
Thus, in toilsome labor of time and energy, in my heart of hearts I rest in the knowledge that He is with me, working what He wills and receiving all the glory.
Furthermore, if I am actually laboring in His vineyard there is a rest available to me that is otherwise elusive. That rest is the abiding sense that I am doing what I was created to do.
Oh then what joy and rest and peace there is when I labor in this manner! I labor in tears and sorrow and suffering, but with great peace that the results are not up to me. I put my shoulder to the harness though it chafes and cuts, trusting in His deliverance, His provision and in His healing power.
Though at times it is eventual, it is certain that I will find His rest. Even when the evil day arrives, the day of overwhelming trouble, I fall forward into His grace and hope in His mercy, and always find rest for my soul.