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September 11, 2009

Thoughts from the "in box"

I received the following email yesterday:
A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 1 ounce to 10 ounces.

The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

He continued, “And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden. So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home; you can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Put down anything that may be a burden to you right now. Don't pick it up again until after you've rested a while.”
As I thought about this, I recognized that the lecturer didn’t go quite far enough in his analogy for me. He neglected to mention the importance of seeking help from others – and particularly from God – to bear the burdens we’re to carry. I remembered these verses from Matthew 11:28-30:
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.
Each time I’ve read these words, I’ve thought of the heavy burdens Jesus bore. His 3-year ministry on earth would have been exhausting for me, and its conclusion – the trial, the scourging, the crucifixion while carrying the sins of each and every one of us – would have been impossible for me to endure. And I was supposed to take up that burden??? And think it light???

Then, for the first time, I looked – really looked – at a “yoke”. And I realized that if Jesus and I were yoked together, I would be carrying only a fraction of the burden, for it would be shared with Him. Furthermore, He and I would be in such close proximity that we would literally be shoulder to shoulder. As we walked, we could talk with each other. I would be able to observe how He handled the weight, and I would indeed be able to "learn from him". For the first time, I understood - really understood -how the burden shared with Jesus could, indeed, be easy to bear.


Don’t forget to enter this week’s caption contest! You can find it here.
I'm planning on holding one every Wednesday - I've had fun seeing your creative ideas!


  1. This was a tremendous eyeopening post! Thank you! I too had not visualized the "yoke" and indeed this life would be easier if we would just allow Jesus to bear the load with us...Pride! The downfall of us all! Thank you! Cathy

  2. Wow... this was terrific. What a great way to explain the yoke, the sharing of the burden, and I love the photo of the oxen. It really helps give you the accurate picture.
    Bravo... this was great.


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