In many rural parts of the world, animals are still used to plow fields and carry heavy burdens. And its cowboy logic that when you are yoking animals together, you should always partner two of the same kind.
It makes it much easier to plow a field if you yoke two oxen together instead of an ox and a Shetland pony. You need a team that’s on the same team.
Now, you might not be a farmer in Indonesia, so using oxen to plow anything might seem very foreign to you. But in Jesus’ day, it was well understood. And he used this knowledge to help teach us a powerful spiritual truth.
He said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
You should first notice that Jesus tells you to come to him and put on his yoke. Coming to Jesus with the heavy burdens of your life should always be your first step. Too often, we yoke ourselves to worldly things.
As a result, the animal (money, sin, greed, unforgiveness, etc.) plowing next to us doesn’t look anything like Jesus. This makes life more challenging than it needs to be, and the rest we desire becomes a pipe dream.
What Jesus is asking you to do is partner with him and learn from him. When was the last time you let Jesus be your teacher? If you’re not yoked with Jesus, there is no “rest for your soul.”
Jesus took the burdens of your sin with him on the cross. He carried what you could not carry, your sin and shame, so you can find the rest your soul has been looking for through him.
It doesn’t mean that all your life problems will magically go away. But it means you can face life’s complex parts with Jesus by your side. He will teach you how to deal with them as you rest in him and let him do the heavy lifting.