"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." 1
I once heard someone put what Jesus said this way. It is like an advertising slogan that the carpenter's son put on a sign outside of his shop: "Jesus Christ's Easy Yokes."
You may think of a yoke as a big wooden contraption that is placed on the neck of oxen to harness them to do work. You may think of a yoke as work, but it is actually something designed to make work much easier. In some countries people bear a yoke, a stick, across their shoulders to help them balance and carry heavy loads that would be impossible otherwise. The yoke is not the burden, but makes carrying burdens easier.
Jesus tells you to put on His yoke of ease, and with that yoke to carry His light burden. This is the only way to find rest for your soul. If you find things are getting spiritually unbearable, check the following:
•Do you have the burden Jesus gave you, or did you pick up some other heavy load elsewhere? Why not trade loads? Give Jesus your heavy one and take on his light one.
•Are you using His yoke, or are you trying to carry your burden with some cheaply made imitation that is hard, chafes, and does nothing to help you carry the burden? Perhaps you're even trying bareback?
•Are you using His yoke properly? A yoke is worn by a servant, so it must be worn with humility. Our Master took on the form of a servant and served His heavenly Father by humbly serving us. He now offers you the same yoke He carried.
The Wrong Yokes:
Now therefore why do you tempt God, that you should put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 2
Don't be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 3
Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don't be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 4
The Right Yokes:
Let as many as are bondservants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brothers, but rather let them serve them, because those who partake of the benefit are believing and beloved. Teach and exhort these things. 5
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. His commandments are not grievous. 6