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Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

In New Testament Palestine the Ox was the primary piece of equipment for the farmer. Attached to various loads by a yoke the ox would carry the burden of the farmer all day long.

When a young ox was in training it would be teamed up with an experienced ox with a double yoke. The straps on the experienced ox were bound tightly to the animal, while the straps for the younger ox were loose. In this way the bulk of the burden for the load was placed on the more experienced ox.

Jesus uses the picture of a yoke and oxen to teach us a lesson about his expectations of us and our assurance from him that he will walk beside us along the way.

There are times in our lives when we, either vocally or inside ourselves, voice the statement, “This is too much for me to bear. I can’t do this anymore.” Each of us carries a multitude of different burdens. Some of those burdens are ‘self-inflicted’ such as addictive behaviors, the affair we can’t leave, the pornography we can’t stay away from, the anger we can’t let go of, the person we refuse to forgive.

Other burdens we bear have been placed on us from other sources. The wounds of an abusive spouse or parent; the feelings of abandonment we harbor, even as an adult, because of parents who left us or were too busy with their career to tend to their families; the rules and regulations of religious dogma; the limitations due to health or age issues.

Whatever your burden is, whether self-inflicted or otherwise, Jesus’ promise is the same. He walks beside you. You may feel your burden is too great, but he is bearing the brunt of the load and feeling the majority of the pain.

As he walks the path with you remember that he is gentle, not demanding; understanding, not judgmental; grace-full, not critical. Jesus has no desire to make our lives burdensome and harsh. Because of his passionate love for us, Jesus comes alongside us to help us carry the burdens that weigh us down on the journey we call life.

What burden are you bearing today? Worry? Fear? Guilt? Shame? Disappointment? Physical burdens? Jesus wants to come alongside you to help ease your burden as you learn to walk with him and love him. He doesn’t promise to take the burden away, but he will never let you bear it alone. It’s good to have a friend like him to help along the way.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I have many friends and family that love me and encourage me. But none of them understand the weight of this burden I bear. Until now I’ve tried to carry it myself. I ask that you would walk beside me and help ease the load I carry. Amen.

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