His Light and Easy Yoke
His invitation to come to Him had to be some of the most refreshing words ever spoken. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you…for My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). The world in which those words were spoken had little rest. There was the burden of Roman oppression, the burden of sin and the burden of the false teaching given by the religions leaders of the Jews (Acts 15:10). He promised rest to those who came.
First-century yokes involved oxen being driven and abused in their labor. In our land, it sometimes involved slaves being yoked to replace those oxen as fields were plowed. His invitation was for men to come to Him and remove burdensome yokes. His yoke is one that is easy, and His burden is light!
He Invites Laborers into His Vineyard
Jesus described the church as being like the owner of the vineyard who went out at all hours to seek individuals to come to work in the vineyard, promising them a just reward for their efforts (Matt. 20:1-16). The invitation was extended to those who wanted to work. Sometimes, we wrongly view His “vineyard” involving nothing more than assembling whenever it fits our schedule to sit in the vineyard and sing and pray. His question to those at the eleventh hour demands serious thought. “Why have you been standing here idle all day” (v. 6). The owner of our “vineyard” expects us to come to Him to take on a yoke to work for Him. Think about this question as it applies to us, “Why are you not laboring in the vineyard?”
He Refuses Those Who Refuse to Work
Hebrews chapter four describes the fate of those whose lack of faith kept them from working for the Lord and doing His will. It describes those who left Egypt, came to the edge of the Promised Land and then quit. The Holy Spirit then turns His attention to Christians and urges us, “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (v. 11). God has a Promised Land for us which we will someday enter, but until that time, He expects us to labor.
He Gives Rest to Those Who Labor
The closing book of the Bible proclaims, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them’” (Rev. 14:13). The Lord’s view of those who come to Him is one of men coming to Him, laying down the heavy burdens of this world and taking on His easy yoke. He sees us working in His vineyard and after our death to then rest. What is your view of your place in that vineyard?