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The Yoke and the Burden

Posted by Doug Routledge on

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
As I write these words from Jesus I am beginning to wonder if they are true. As a minister and leader, chosen by God even for such a time as this, I am torn between the weight of the call and the promise of the light burden. I am reflecting on the words, “learn from me.”
My wife and I arrived back to our home in Michigan after 3 days of emotionally charged responsibility, including a 2000 mile round-road-trip. We breezed through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. We dropped our youngest daughter off at her school in the midst of the Covid uncertainty. Three days before, we had left Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a place that generally represents repose for us, in order to collect our thoughts, put in a three day office gather and pack. 
I had to make a last minute decision about a podcast recording trip through Chicago, Minneapolis ending in a time in rural Wisconsin. I couldn’t get peace. Eight states in six days during the turmoil of a confidence pandemic, if nothing else, will rob you of your ability to process. 
My middle daughter was married in June in an incredible drive-in wedding. I had pushed the emotion of this storied day, wrought with its inherent nostalgia, promise and loss into the closet of my already cluttered heart walls. Work resumed, picked up and in fact spun at new levels. A day camp, a week at a camp emerging from  the cobwebbed recesses of a questioning Fanghorn, then to our Northwestern branch location to observe their day camp was punctuated by meeting with supporters, board members and friends.
My wife Dawn and I moved in and out of empty-nesting like a neurotic eagle on an egg shaped rock. Something should be happening but it didn’t seem to be. I’m still kind of afraid to move,
We limped into a time of vacation that became consumed with other mandatory responsibilities news on the next immediate wave. We limped out.
“My yoke is easy. My burden is light.”
I sit in the tangle of tasks that enshroud my day. Doesn’t seem light to me. The busyness that we find ourselves swarmed under has come from the good intentions of fixing this mess for God. It was not mine to fix. It is light when Christ has it. In retroflection I question if the weight of Christ’s call was indeed, easy or light. The burden of the cross, nearly subjugated Jesus to depression, crying tears of blood for us.
No. I think that the weight spoken of in Matthew 11 must be of something other than ease and self sufficiency. It is a comparison to those of us still weathered to the judgement of God. 
Ministers have been guilted into a covid-Savior role. We have to fix it all, figure it all, without grief, reflection or process. How in a day of consulate shifting sand do we as leaders, lead?
Learn from me.
My thoughts are a few, but I’ll share them  as they they are restoring my soul.
  1. Perhaps living in a spiritually generous society has softened 
  2. Being attentive to all of the contentious voices around me, giving ear to their opines may actually be sin. This is shifting sand.                                                                                                     I am carrying the call of God on my life. I should then, in prayerful submission to HIs leading, His quiet nudge in my spirit, move to the next place. I can ignore all the rest as noise.
  3. Consensus is an objective that always leaves both extremes wallowing in discontent. 
  4. The question is not, “if?” It is, “How?” We are called. We have a God who understands and speaks into into times like these. As I rest in the cleft of the rock, I am not moving until I hear His voice.
  5. I should learn from Jesus. He celebrated the process. He enjoyed the company. He relished God’s answers. He created the new vintage wine at the underprepared wedding. I rest, celebrate, grieve and breathe deeply of the life God has surrounded me with. 
  6. I reject the hurry and the urge to leap because someone is urging me to do so. I breathe deeply. I rest in prayer on this ledge. 
  7. In 30 years, the movements, viruses and elections will be history. The decisions we make, calm we demonstrate and the faith we show will be the legacy of those we lead.

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