My yoke is easy and my burden is light….Really?
We’ve all read this passage, and I’m sure at some point we’ve felt the exact opposite. A friend of mine sent me Rick Warren’s devotional and in it he writes “How heavy is God’s yoke? Jesus says, “The yoke I will give you is light and easy.” You say, “But my Christian life isn’t easy. My Christian life is heavy; it’s like a duty that I have to fulfill.”
Then it may be you are out of God’s will. You may be doing something that God never intended for you to do. I can’t say it any plainer than this: It may be that some of the things you think God is asking you to do, he’s not actually asking you to do. Your conscious and your perfectionism are asking you to do them.
Jesus did not come to give you a burden but a blessing.
Am I saying the Christian life has no problems? No, not at all! We all will have a lot of problems. The Christian life is full of difficulties. The point is this: To live in the center of God’s will is a lighter load than to live out of God’s will. To live in God’s purpose and plan for your life is a lighter, more relaxing, more enjoyable load than for you to live your own life any old way you choose.”
It was a strange coincidence that she sent this to me today. Last night my Uncle came to visit from Calgary. I don’t see my family that often but when I do I cherish the opportunity to visit. My uncle isn’t a lot older than I, and I’ve always viewed him and my Auntie as good friends as opposed to their actual respectful titles. They have spoken into my life often and I have always respected their minds, opinions and approach to life.
My Uncle is a busy man. He runs a successful plumbing company, attends small group, has hobbies and 3 children. We were chatting last night about the yoke of the church. Well technically it was in a round-a-bout way but what he said to me was something I feel, and suspect most of you feel. He’s too busy to do more church stuff. He is focusing on providing a good life for his employees, their families and his own. While doing that he’s trying to build the Kingdom.
It’s been a growing tradition for churches to require more time and volunteer efforts from their people. I wonder if this is the right approach? What if we instead allowed people to focus on the many hours they already are committed to each week and teach them, maybe even encourage them, to use this time better? Perhaps that is God’s will for us as we live our lives and not the 3 extra functions at your home church building a week.
Do you feel like your yoke is easy? Is your burden light?
Don’t stop sewing into the Kingdom. Help your local church community add value to it’s city! But maybe it’s time for us Pastors to reconsider why our focus has become so time intensive? Maybe even why we don’t equip our people better to understand that they might already be living what God has called them too outside of the church walls and help them do that better? Or even, is everything we are doing as a church required or necessary?
We have to stop celebrating face time in our building, and start celebrating Kingdom building results. Take some time and ask God what he wants you to cut out of your life so you can be better and more focused on what he wants you to be. And leaders, let’s ensure we aren’t giving our congregants a heavy yoke.