Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Easy Yoke and Light Burden

"For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matt. 11:30).

Let's talk oxymorons.  What exactly is an oxymoron?  Professor Warren Blumenfeld, an authority on the subject, defined it as "contradictory expressions that make absolute sense."  Think of it as a pocket-sized paradox.  But better and more fun to give examples:

clearly misunderstood
devout atheist
freezer burn
ill health
jumbo shrimp
old news
only choice
plastic silverware
bittersweet
open-ended

Send me your favorite oxymoron and I'll add it to the list!

But now Jesus speaks oxymoronically when He says, "My yoke is easy, and My burden light."  Because a yoke is anything but easy.  It is a hard thing: "an iron yoke on your neck" (Deut. 28:48), "the yoke of my transgressions" (Lam. 1:14), "a yoke of slavery" (Gal. 5:1).  And because a burden is by definition heavy.  Chances are you're carrying one right now.

Easy yoke, light burden.  Add them to the list.  More importantly, what do they mean?  I didn't really know until recently.

I've come to believe that the best place to interpret and understand the Word is inside of a nursing home or hospital, ministering to those in ill health.  So on a recent nursing home visit, and at the bedside of a 99-year-old woman named Dorothy, I read aloud these words of Jesus.  Immediately I felt I understood them clearly.

It's simple.  "Dorothy," I exclaimed softly, "I know what these things are!  His yoke is the forgiveness of sins.  Yes!  And the burden is His love!  You and I have to live under that easy yoke, and carry that light burden wherever we go!"

The best, most blessed oxymorons!  Who wouldn't gladly live under this yoke and happily carry this burden?

All that remains is for you to hear the gentle-hearted Savior speaking these oxymorons to you.