Today’s Gospel: Matthew 11:28-30
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.” Every time I read that sentence, what I really want Jesus to be saying to me is “I got this. Lay down what is weighing on you and move forward, burden-free and carefree. Also, here’s some really delicious fat free ice cream and $3 million.” Yes, in my fantasies I can get a little carried away with what I wish Jesus would do for me.
In my professional life of ministry, this Gospel passage stands out to me because it was the message sent out to the university I was working for after the tragic death of a student. One doesn’t easily forget the untimely deaths of college students. Each tragic phone call I receive as a campus minister, and the whirlwind of memorial services, grief counseling and long tearful conversations that follow, burns their memory on my heart.
So, this passage takes me back to a time of wishing that Christ would just go ahead and take away all of the grief and the doubts and the sadness that my students were experiencing. And, thankfully, my absurd wishes never come true. Grief is hard, like many things we experience in life. But life isn’t hard for bad reasons. Life is hard because God is inviting us to take part in bringing about His kingdom. We aren’t just simple onlookers, we actually get to be a part of God’s wonderful plan! And how much better is that than being on the sidelines and having an easy yet meaningless existence? Our yokes are important to the salvation of the world and that is why we strive daily to carry them with joy.
Jesus invites us to take His yoke when we are weary so that we might rest. How can I lighten the yoke of those around me when they struggle?
Creator God, thank you allowing me, small and imperfect as I am, to be an important part of Your kingdom. Help me to remember how vastly important I am in Your eyes when it feels hard to even take the next step.
Copyright 2017 Jennifer Durney
Jennifer Durney works for the Diocese of Erie in the areas of both Youth and Young Adult Ministry as well as College Campus Ministry. She and her husband, Matt, share a passion for ministry to youth, community and active modeling of the faith in daily life, especially as they navigate their first year as parents to their beautiful daughter, Vivianne.