Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). If we’re not careful we can find ourselves filled with stress and worry in this life. There is always something that’s wrong or needs to be fixed. There is always a challenge to face or an obstacle to overcome. That’s why we need to grow. Jesus wants us to know His peace and rest, which strengthens our soul. But for this to happen, we must obey Him. He told us two things in Matthew 11:29. First, He said, “Take my yoke upon you….” Finding rest inside is not the result of casting off all responsibility. It’s not trying to go on a lifetime vacation, sitting around doing nothing. A yoke is a symbol of work and effort. Animals wore yokes to plod through the fields breaking up the earth before the seed was sown. The yoke of Jesus involves willingly embracing the work to which God has called us. As we love Jesus and do His will, this yoke doesn’t seem like a burden to bear but rather a delight. That’s why He said, “…my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). This rest and peace of Jesus come as we are willing to do the second thing He told us, “…learn from me….” How do we learn? I learn to do something new by first watching someone else and then repeating it myself. Of course, learning a new skill also takes much practice and repetition. When it comes to learning from the Lord, He helps me in various ways. I “watch” Him and learn from Him as I pray, read His Word, and observe Him through the lives of others. This past weekend, Terry and I visited Chicago Tabernacle, a growing urban church in a large city. We observed, listened, and experienced an environment of passionate love for God and His Word. The Lord has used the “culture” of Chicago Tabernacle to provide fruitful ministry to the community. This visit was a great encouragement and gave Terry and me many good ideas to pray over and consider for Highway Tabernacle. While we should never try to “copycat” another church, we can open our hearts and learn from Jesus how to do ministry more effectively. We thank you for allowing us the opportunity to travel to Chicago, and we believe the Lord is teaching us some great lessons as we go forward. The Lord Jesus is the great teacher, and we thank Him for a lifetime to learn from Him! Let’s continue to learn and grow!
Pastor Mark Boucher