“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (THE MESSAGE)
There is an old chorus that includes these words:
Jesus bids us shine, then, for all around,
Many kinds of darkness in the world abound;
Sin and want and sorrow, so we must shine,
You in your small corner
And I in mine.
The more adult implication of this childhood rhyme is that we certainly want to ‘shine’ for Jesus, but we do so in our own small corners.
Perhaps a reminder that we are not called on to solve the problems of the world. We cannot make our families happy; we cannot make our churches perfect; we cannot polish up our lives so we never go astray. We can become burdened if we seek to do more than what Jesus calls us to do. The load becomes too much so we either give up in despair or suffer breakdowns as we keep on trying to do the impossible.
And perhaps this is what Jesus is saying in our passage today. The familiar translations have him speaking of an easy yoke and a light burden. This can seem like a sad joke to some who find following Jesus anything but easy or light.
Yet while discipleship is difficult, we make it so much harder for ourselves when we figure we are called to do more than Jesus himself calls us to do. We take on loads and burdens that are not ours to bear. We leave our small corners and get crushed by all sorts of demands. So we need to remember that God, and only God, has the whole world in his hands.