On the parent blog site, you will find detailed expositions of the various aspects of the Christian faith. To go to parent site, click here: http://high-expressions.blogspot.com/

06 September 2011

Restedness does NOT mean no work

Preamble: this article first appeared as a comment intended as an edification for Sister Liz Mah, on her blog site: Liz’s Adventure. Sister Liz Mah is stricken with stage 4 lung cancer. Her blog chronicles her journey through this affliction. May I encourage you to pray and encourage this sister-in-Christ; you can pop over to her blog to know more about her condition and needs.

One of the seeming paradoxes in Bible included this (Matt 11:28-30):

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Say it like this:
Restedness that Jesus was talking about was NOT no work. Yoke is definitely referring to work. How can restedness in work possible? Under what circumstance is restedness possible in work? What is Jesus' yoke? Jesus' yoke is to do the Father's will. To exchange your yoke with the yoke of Jesus is to give up your yoke and take on the work of doing the Father's will. In other words, Jesus is promising that if we do the will of the Father, we can find rest for our soul. The opposite of restedness is turmoil, restlessness, strive, uneasiness, lack of peace, sense of burdensome, and heavy-laden. So, is it really if we do the will of the Father, we can find rest for our soul? But in practice, there are those of us, purportedly doing the will of the Father but there is no restedness of the soul; how come? The problem is that people take one part of verse 29 and NOT the other! They take Jesus' yoke alright, but they did NOT learn from Jesus. The verse said to take His yoke AND learn from Him.

Despite internet search showing up that there is a Torah prohibition of yoking a stronger animal with a weaker one, such practice is believed to be common in those times. I shan't comment on the Torah here, but I want to express that there is a good reason for that (practice), and Jesus was pointing to exactly that, here in verse 29.

Now there are those who wrote the yoke in a roundabout (opposite) manner, saying that we are the "strong" one that needs to be weakened, I believe that is incorrect, for it goes against the normal use of everyday examples as metaphors or parables of what God wants to say to us. No, it is we are the weak one, and Jesus is the strong one. A weak animal like an oxen is fitted with a strong one (and most likely an experienced one; one that had been doing the stuff before, and so know what is required, and how to pace things out), so that the weaker one learns the rope, so to speak, with the stronger one, carrying the greater load and strain until the weaker one is strong enough to bear more; “greater” (load) being relative to the newbie, but NOT to the seasoned one. People forget that when they do the will of the Father, they are to do them alongside Jesus, and learn from Him; they took the yoke upon themselves solely. And then they wonder why there is no restedness.

It is as time goes by, as you learn from Jesus through the Holy Spirit, whom you have to welcome beside you, the art of carrying the yoke, you grow stronger to bear the yoke, in restedness. It is NOT you get weaker and weaker that Jesus carries more and more for you; that goes against the grain of common use of parable and metaphor. The mention of gentleness and humbleness on Jesus' part was to assure us that Jesus is NOT going to lord over you, making you carry all the load, or that He is going to tell you, "I have been there, and done that, Now, you do all the work." I like to interpret verse 30 to mean this: Jesus was saying, “You don't have to worry about me, for whatever portion that I have to bear, it is "no sweat", easy and light!” Why? Because He has arrived (… and we have NOT). Jesus is your “big brother”, work with Him in the Father’s business, and He (Jesus) will take care of you, NOT just in the business of the Father.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions, Say It Like this

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