“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.” — Matthew 11:28-30 —
My husband is the one who takes our dogs for their walks. Knowing their behavior and what to expect while out, he tightens their collar before they leave the house. I used to tell him he had the collars too tight. He explained it had to be tight or they could slip out of the collar. I used to complain until we had a horrible incident some time back:
Since then, I no longer tell him that it is too tight. I trust his judgment. Yet, I still hate to see them with a tight collar.
I’ve noticed over the years all the different yokes we put on one another. Husbands put them on wives and wives put them on their husbands. Family puts them on one another and friends can do the same things. It usually looks like this: I want you to be more like such n such so I can get this or that from you. THAT is a yoke. Another one: I want to lead you here so I can get this from you. THAT is a yoke.
Rarely, if ever is it something to make you free. Rather, it causes you to be chained to someone, desperetaly seeking their approval over and over. Which leads to idolatry.
The Church has been especially guilty of this. You must do this or that to prove yourself, before we let you do this or that. An example: My husband has a teaching gift. A few years back, he was asked to teach in the Church of a few members he was going to. He takes this seriously, seeks the Lord, and prepares for it through both prayer and study of God’s Word. He speaks with logic and reason, able to expound on things that I and others may miss.
He was told by the pastor that all teachers would be required to clean the bathrooms before they got to speak again. If this pastor knew my husband he would not have expected this from him. Not because my husband thinks he is too good to be a servant of this nature. But because, I am the one who has cleaned this house from day one of our marriage. My husband would not know the first thing about cleaning anything. It is my job. My job meaning, something that I want to do. He takes care of things I want no part of and would not know the first thing about.
If we had been much younger, I would have went and done it side by side with him. But, I had/have my own health issues to deal with and was not/am not going to take on anything I did not/do not sense the Lord leadings. At the time my husband worked a full-time job, whereas the pastor had quit his job and was depending upon God through faith to supply his needs and the needs of his family. THAT is wrong. What it really means is he and his family were depending upon the flock to support their needs. Sorry, but that is what it is. And it is wrong.
I rather bluntly told my husband, “Let those who do not work, clean the bathrooms. The pastor has kids old enough, his wife doesn’t work, let them do it.” Even the women, the teen-agers, and those who played the guitars and the drums could have done it. We are not talking about dozens of bathrooms, for pete sakes. Just two.
Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” — Acts 6:1-4 —
The above has to do with something the disciples had to deal with during their day. They were teaching/preaching the Word of God. An issue came up of who was going to serve in another area. They thought it best they not be tied down to both. So they left it in the hands of others to decide who would be suited best. Note, not just anybody, but of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. It was a serious matter, not to be taken lightly.
Do not get me wrong. I do believe in being a servant. Especially, if you are being blessed somewhere, then by all means, find a way to be a blessing in that Church/Building/Relatioship/Fellowship. If you know how to do a little plumbing, then offer your services. If you are gifted with an ability to use your hands, then do it. If you are good at painting, do it. However, my husband is not mechanical by any means. We both saw what this pastor was doing, as a control issue. The pastor already knew who the faithful were. He knew my husband was one. The pastor was putting a yoke upon those who were called to minister in the gifts they were called.
Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? — Acts 15:10 —
Many times, people expect us to behave a certain way just for them. This is wrong. It is putting a yoke on us. We expect someone to perform. This is wrong, too. It is a yoke. Others do it to us by watching our every move, expecting us to jump through some kind of hoops. Once we get their approval, only then do they accept us. Let the reader know, I am not talking about issues of sin, but issues of feeling you have to prove yourself to mere man through acts of performance.
Yokes enslave us. They cause us to be led only so far by others. We are to be led by Jesus, not having the yokes of man/institutions put upon us.
I believe it is going to be very important in the days ahead for the Bride of Christ to get the yokes off. If we are yoked to men, they can mislead us. What if the very thing we are yoked to appears to be a good thing? What if it were taken away from you? Would you be able to be led by God or would you need man? What if the yoke leads to deception? The day is coming when we must hear the voice of our Shepherd. No other voice will do.
As soon as my dogs hit the door after their walk, they come straight to me. They know I will stop whatever I am doing, bend down and release them from that hard restraint. They want those collars off. Dixie, the biggest one, is especially quick to come to me. As soon as I remove the collar, she melts like butter in my arms. She is so relieved to get that thing off. Her eyes express such a relief, such gratitude.
How much more, the good Shepherd desires to take the yokes off of us!
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. — John 8:36 —
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. — Galations 5:1 —