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Weekly Devotionals

An Easy Yoke

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

I’m a runner. I run everyday if I can and it is not just for exercise, but truly the venue for which I do some of my best thinking, praying, and emotional processing. Often when I say I run people react strongly by saying I’m so disciplined or virtuous in some way, and how they wish they could be, but they get so bored or uncomfortable, or just plain hate it. But I’m not that virtuous and self-disciplined with exercise- I deeply dislike the bike, all matter of gym equipment, am bored to sleep with yoga, and certainly want to have nothing to do with abdominal exercises. I just genuinely like running and it helps me feel like a person. I’ve found a way to move my body that feels right. Maybe for you it is a hike, or yoga or an intense workout at the gym (bless you) but I have a hunch there is one way of moving that feels right for you.

Our personal spiritual practices can be quite similar. I was recently having a conversation with someone frustrated with their lack motivation to pray and the discussion opened up to different types of prayer and even different locations to pray. For many of us, we may believe our spiritual practice needs to look specifically one way- perhaps only devotions and prayer early before work or following a particular formula. Guidelines and routines for our devotional time can provide stability and structure, but perhaps sometimes they can be limiting to what may fit us as we uniquely are.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus tells us his yoke is easy and burden is light. A yoke is a piece of wood carved to fit over the neck of an animal so that it can pull a load or a cart. Something quite notable about a yoke is that it needs to be carved to fit the unique shape of the animal- head yokes that fit over the animal’s horns need to be re-shaped regularly as the animal grows. A yoke that doesn’t fit properly would be uncomfortable and make it very difficult for the animal to do its job.

Jesus tells us that his yoke is easy-in the Message translation verse 30 reads: “I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you.” The point of a quiet time or devotional time is not the practice- it is to connect with the Person. Our habits for spiritual growth can be formed in tandem with God’s guidance to fit our unique relationship with Him. Of course, our individual practices still very much need to be connected to the greater body of Christ. Yet the point of our quiet time with God is not to strive harder-in fact, Jesus is telling us that it fits and its light.

God wants to connect with you as He uniquely made you. This week prayerfully consider if your ways of connecting to God are focused on Him or the routine- and if they aren’t fully focused on connecting to Him in the context of your unique relationship, consider how those practices might shift a bit.