“When Jesus spoke of his ‘yoke,’ his listeners in that day and culture would understand it a bit differently than we might. A rabbi like Jesus would tell his followers how he interpreted the Torah … and the Prophets. His interpretation of how to apply God’s law, how to live it out, was called his yoke. For example, a rabbi’s yoke was simply his teaching on what it means, practically speaking, to ‘love your neighbor’ or ‘honor your parents.’ What specific things did you need to do to comply with those rules? And which rules were the most important? That’s what a rabbi’s yoke addressed. A rabbi’s disciples would take on his yoke, that is, try to emulate their master, try to live out God’s law by using the rabbi as a role model. That’s why, in the gospel stories, you often find people asking Jesus questions such as ‘Which is the most important commandment?’ or ‘Who is my neighbor?’ They are asking, okay, Jesus, what’s your yoke? Learning this (thanks to Pastor Rob Bell) was revolutionary for me. I had always thought of a yoke as a heavy burden, and I was confused about how a yoke could be easy or light. If a yoke is simply a way of life, a lifestyle that Jesus modeled, a way of life that says simply love God and love each other, then it is entirely possible. It could be something light. …The metaphor also reminds us that we are not working by ourselves. Instead, we are yoked to Jesus, and he shares equally in the burden of our transformation. He is at our side and is for us. We’re not carrying the burden of living the Christian life alone. Jesus is not the farmer driving the ox; he’s the other ox pulling with us. We need to slow down enough to notice that he’s there and work with him, not against him.” Keri Wyatt Kent
“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you … and you will find rest for your souls.”
Jesus in Matthew 11:29
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Before we can “do what Jesus did” we need to live as Jesus lived. Jesus practiced simplicity, slowness and sabbath. Are you “emulating Jesus” in any of these ways?
- Jesus loved God and others. Can you do that?
- Do you ever feel like Jesus is “the farmer driving the ox” – and that you’re the ox? Where does that come from?
Abba, help me remember you’re right beside me. Help me work with you, not against you.
For More: Breathe by Keri Wyatt Kent
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. If this was helpful, please share! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“The most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display. To do this, the church most stop thinking of everybody primarily in categories of in or out, saved or not, believer or nonbeliever. Besides the fact that these terms are offensive to the ‘un’ and ‘non,’ they work against Jesus’s teachings about how we are to treat each other. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, and our neighbor can be anybody. We are all created in the image of God, and we are all sacred, valuable creations of God. Everybody matters. To treat people differently based on who believes what is to fail to respect the image of God in everyone. …Oftentimes the Christian community has sent the message that we love people and build relationships in order to convert them to the Christian faith. So there is an agenda. And when there is an agenda, it isn’t really love, is it? It’s something else. We have to rediscover love, period. Love that loves because it is what Jesus teaches us to do. We have to surrender our agendas. Because some people aren’t going to become Christians like us no matter how hard we push. They just aren’t. [I obviously love to talk to people about Jesus and my faith. I take every opportunity I can get.] And at some point we have to commit them to God, trusting that God loves them more than we ever could.” Rob Bell
“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.” James 2:1
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Can you preach the gospel without words? Can you preach it without love?
- Is speaking the truth so important that it trumps the need to love?
- Can you do your part (whatever is the best you can do at the time) and trust God to do his part (what only he can do, and according to his timing)?
- Maybe having an “agenda” is not so bad. Isn’t it just wanting what you believe is best for someone? After all, Christians are “missional.” So to what is Rob Bell objecting?
Abba, let me share your great good news, but love expecting nothing in return.
For More: Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
‘It is our best work that he wants, not the dregs of our exhaustion. So many seem ambitious to kill themselves in the service of the Master – and as quickly as possible. Come with us to God’s infirmary in the country and rest for a while.” George MacDonald
“Sabbath honors the necessary wisdom of dormancy. If certain plant species, for example, do not lie dormant for winter, they will not bear fruit in the spring. If this continues for more than a season, the plant begins to die. If dormancy continues to be prevented, the entire species will die. A period of rest … is a spiritual and biological necessity.” Wayne Muller
“Sabbath is …
…taking a day a week to remind myself that I did not make the world and that it will continue to exist without my efforts.
…a day when my work is done, even if it isn’t.
…a day when my job is to enjoy. Period.
…a day when I am fully available to myself and those I love most.
…a day when I remember that when God made the world, he saw that it was good.
…a day when I produce nothing.
…a day when at the end I say, ‘I didn’t do anything today,’ and I don’t add, ‘And I feel so guilty.’
…a day when my phone is turned off, I don’t check my email, and you can’t get a hold of me.”
“’Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any [manna].’
Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none.
Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?
Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath;
that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days.
Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.'”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Is everyday the same to you?
- Are you out “looking for manna” on the seventh day?
- Does your life reflect the biological necessity of dormancy?
- Are you rested enough to give God your best?
Abba, help me honor your ordained rhythms.
For More: Notes From an Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”