“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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.
—Jesus, in Matthew 11:28–29
Someone asked me recently, “Why isn’t this scripture emphasized more?”
My friend’s point was that throughout the scriptures, Jesus tells us how to find the Way that we seek: be joined together with Christ in the work of building God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. The burden Jesus asks us to carry—the task of changing the world—is not heavy because we are not alone, we are yoked together in this work.
The image of a yoke may be antiquated. Except in historical museums, we don’t see these devices often. In Liverpool, our daily bread does not depend upon the combined efforts of a team of draft animals joined by a wooden yoke to pull together more than any one of them could pull alone. Some county fairs still have horse pulls, where observers can witness the truth that a team of horses can pull so much more than the sum of the weights either horse could pull on its own.
The burdens of our lives can be made so much lighter when we work together. Synergy—the ability of two or more to accomplish more than the sum of the parts—can be seen in a variety of fields beyond agriculture. In medicine, the combined effects of two or more drugs may be very different than the effects of each drug independent of the others. In management, the power of teams to produce more than a group of individuals working independently is well documented.
I was amazed by the teamwork that led to the Outreach Commission’s Tag Sale netting more than $800! Most of the items sold were less than $5, and many of the items were priced at $1 or less. This money will be used in mission with Red Bird Mission’s Appalachian Crafters, allowing them to transport hand-made goods for a craft fair here at Liverpool First on June 27 and 28. The craft fair will help lift the burden of extremely limited economic opportunities for the people living in the isolated mountains of Southeastern Kentucky.
Working together, we can do so much more to change the world than any of us could do alone. That’s part of what it means to be yoked together with Christ. The burden Jesus asks us to help carry—the task of changing the world—is not heavy because we are not alone, we are yoked together in this work.
Blessings, Pastor Alison