Life is hard. There is a lot of work to be done. So it’s striking when the Savior invites people who “labour and are heavy laden” to take His “yoke” upon them. (See Matthew 11:28-30.)
A yoke is a wooden beam fastened across the necks of two animals, enabling them to work together. Because a yoke facilitates labor, it is often associated in the scriptures with bondage. For example:
- Isaiah rejoiced that the Messiah would break the yoke off the neck of Israel. (See Isaiah 9:4, 2 Nephi 19:4. See also Isaiah 10:27, 2 Nephi 20:27.)
- When the people of Limhi recognized that they could not prevail over their captors, “they did humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the yoke of bondage” (Mosiah 21:13).
- Korihor criticized members of the church for carrying what he thought were excessive burdens: “O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope, why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish things? Why do ye look for a Christ?” (Alma 30:13).
In contrast, Jesus invited people who were overburdened, “Take my yoke upon you…and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).
Why would His yoke be easy? The obvious explanation is because He is pulling with us. When we yoke ourselves to Him, we gain access to His power. The work becomes far easier, because we are no longer trying to do it alone.
Elder David A. Bednar taught:
Making and keeping sacred covenants yokes us to and with the Lord Jesus Christ. In essence, the Savior is beckoning us to rely upon and pull together with Him, even though our best efforts are not equal to and cannot be compared with His. As we trust in and pull our load with Him during the journey of mortality, truly His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
We are not and never need be alone. We can press forward in our daily lives with heavenly help. Through the Savior’s Atonement we can receive capacity and “strength beyond [our] own” (“Lord, I Would Follow Thee,” Hymns, no. 220).“Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease,” General Conference, April 2014
Today, I will accept the Savior’s invitation to take His yoke upon me. I will remember that as I accept His yoke, I receive His help. I will accept assignments from Him and strive to do His work well, knowing that I do not work alone.
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