Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Matthew 11: 28-30 KJV
Father Jim’s excellent sermon on this past Sunday’s Gospel text focused on the Rest that Christ offers us as we share the burdens of this difficult life with our Lord. As we cast our troubles at the foot of the cross in prayer, we are promised the Peace that passes all understanding in the midst of turmoil.
But this promise of rest for the soul comes with a pre-requisite. We must come to Christ. And…we must take on the Lord’s yoke. You and I must choose to put on a yoke that binds our lives with the life and teachings of Jesus.
The yoke collared two animals together. When they were yoked, they could work more efficiently, and accomplish more than a single animal could on its own. It was not uncommon for a younger, weaker animal to be yoked together with an older, stronger, and more experienced animal. The older animal would pull more weight than the younger. The younger animal would also learn from the movements and direction of the older, more experienced animal. The younger animal would grow and learn under the influence of the older.
Every single day you and I find ourselves under the influence of someone or something. We are assaulted by marketing messages telling us what we should wear, what we should eat, how we should style our hair, what car we should drive, who we should vote for, what deodorant we should apply in the morning, and what toothpaste we should brush with before going to bed. Advertisements inundate our TV and radio shows, interrupt our podcasts, and abound in social media. There is actually a profession called “influencer” in today’s world. Someone whose job is not to produce or create anything of value, but who earns their living on social media promoting an idea or product.
The question is who influences each of us? A society with its prejudices and expectations of what is proper? Marketers and influences who attempt to convince us their products will make our lives better? Politicians who use fear to manipulate us to garner our votes to gain or maintain power? Wall Street with its emphasis on maximizing profit, oft times at the expense of the poor and the environment?
Let us seek to be influenced by our Lord.