In years past, one of the most fun annual events at church was the Sunday School picnic. Families gathered for a delicious potluck featuring each family’s favorite recipe. There were laughing conversations and contests of all sorts. Some were water balloon tosses, egg tosses, and relay races, but one that was fun to watch was the three-legged race. In this event, two people would pair up and the right leg of one would be tied to the left leg of the other. Sometimes the pairs were similar in size, but often there was quite a disparity. Getting from the start of the race to the end involved often a lot of falling and laughing. But the ones who won were the ones who stayed tightly connected, moving their conjoined legs at the same time, focused on the end, and choosing not to be distracted by the others in the race. Often, the partners would wrap an arm around each other’s waist to stay united. Usually, their purposeful steady rhythm led them to victory.

When Jesus in Matthew 11:29 says, “Take my yoke upon you…”, I was reminded of how that race was won. Jesus’ hearers would have immediately thought of the heavy yoke used for oxen, uniting two of them to work plowing the fields. Often a younger ox would be yoked with an older one to teach and steady the young one. The LORD Jesus is inviting us to yoke ourselves with Him and learn from Him.

To complete this race, we need to stay yoked with Him. This is ongoing, not just the work of a moment in time. But a choice we continue to make. Dallas Willard tells us it is a set of the will. We still have the free will God has given each of us and it comes into the choice to live with Him daily or not. How can we do this? The answer may be found in the following verses:

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Colossians 3:1-2
To choose to set the will involves the heart and the mind, it keeps us focused on the LORD Jesus and the life He has for us. What will you choose? Will you set your will to stay yoked?

Ponder: What other things might you be yoked to? Why does Jesus want us to “Take my yoke upon you”? Take some time over the next few days, asking the Lord to show you where your hearts and minds are set. Remember that His yoke is easy!

Francie Overstreet
EFCC Member

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