If I were a theology professor, my class would have sounded something like this a few months ago:
Hello, class. Welcome to Bible 101!
Today we are going to dig deep into the riches of the Gospel of Matthew.
Please open your Bibles to Matthew 11:29-30. . . .
“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.”
Sorry class, I can’t go any further.
I have no idea what the heck Jesus is saying here ‘cause how the heck is a yolk “easy?!”
Are we talking over-medium vs. over-easy, here?
How does that make my burden light?? Easier digestion?
IDK. Now I’m hungry. Lunch time. Class dismissed.
. . . Which is why I am not a theology professor.
I’m a lost soul, okay? I admit it! I’m an idiot. Or as kids would say, “stupid head.” Or as my two year old would say, “butt-head,” but that doesn’t really fit in here and I’m not proud he’s already into bad words, so we can scratch that one for now.
I have read and heard this verse so many times it’s embarrassing to admit that all these years the spelling of “yoke” never struck me as anything other than a typo.
Also embarrassing that I had no idea what an actual yoke was.
But I’m gonna pull the “I’m Colombian and didn’t know any better” card on that one.
Anyways, here’s my yo(l)ke story…
I was in a situation where I had begun to feel completely defeated.
I knew I was supposed to stay strong in the path I was walking, but the burden was quickly growing unbearable.
Then, Matthew 11:29-30 came up in conversation.
But, I didn’t get it.
It was still an egg yolk to me (insert red-faced emoji).
I shared my confusion with my husband and after some time of laughter/sympathetic embarrassment he filled me in on the definition.
- a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull.
The next day, these verses were part of the Gospel read at Mass.
The next day, Catholic radio kept bringing up this verse.
The next day, my Pandora station kept playing songs about “My yoke is easy and burden is light.”
Jesus was obviously talking.
He gave me peace, hope and inspiration for that tough situation I was dealing with.
But I also felt Him asking me to focus on how the Scriptures grow with us.
I looked back on my favorite passages, the ones I’ve loved since the beginning of my relationship with Him.
Interestingly so, those same passages were the ones that He’d been re-revealing to me the past year.
I hadn’t noticed.
I hadn’t taken the time to sit and tie it all together.
It was amazing.
He taught me how His Word is so alive. It is real and true and it was actually growing with me.
His teaching felt so intimate.
God is so alive.
Those words given to the saints all those years ago are so very alive on those sacred pages.
What a gift. What a beautiful gift we have in the Bible.
I didn’t even realize it, but I had been at a point in my relationship with the Scriptures where I was limiting their movement within me.
I had decided I wanted to re-read the New Testament all the way through, like it was a regular book.
In all His grace, God intervened with that desire.
He wanted me to fall in love again with the New Testament, with His Son.
Not just read it again.
He was asking me to get to know Jesus all over again in a way He deserves. Not just crossing Him off a list, but prayerfully and deeply.
Isn’t it “funny” that all of this just happened to coincide with the Holy Spirit leading me to a thirty-week retreat. These weeks will be spent focusing on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, where you get to know Jesus through a prayerful encounter with Scripture.
Oh, God. You’re so clever.
Take some time today to sit, fold your hand, close your eyes and listen to what God is saying to you and where He is leading you in this moment.
You’ll be amazed at what’s in store.
Copyright 2017 Stephanie Stovall