I recently had to travel by air and it was the first time in all my years of airline travel that I had to pay to check my baggage. I couldn’t believe after buying a ticket and committing to use a particular airline that they then would charge me for my one bag to be checked. The whole experience started me thinking and I realized how grateful I am that God doesn’t charge me for all the baggage I have left with Him. Never once has He limited the number or size of the baggage that I dropped off with Him. How quickly I had forgotten all the sin baggage I had accumulated and yet He readily took it from me at no charge. Scripture uses the word “burden” to mean “a heavy load.” God has a very clear message regarding “burden” or baggage we collect along life’s path.
Jesus said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30) Men detest the idea of being perceived as “weary” and we put on an act of being able to take on anything that life throws at us. We scoff at being put in a yoke because it may take our control away from us. We cringe at the very mention of words like “gentle” and “humble” because they go against the grain of what the world has convinced us is the definition of a real man. All too often we feel as though we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders yet there is a ready refuge willing and able to take all of our baggage (burdens) and provide rest and comfort.
The reality is that all of us experience exhaustion as a result of the many and varied life issues we have to deal with. Sometimes we are physically exhausted, other times it may be more emotional exhaustion, and if we are absolutely honest about it, there are times that we are spiritually exhausted. If we get gut level honest we would probably agree that there are times when we are physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted all at the same time. By its very definition the word weary refers to these times of exhaustion. Jesus is saying to us that He will be our baggage agent, He will take those things that are causing our exhaustion and He will provide us rest. All we have to do is bring the baggage to him and He will take it free of charge. If that is the case, then why is it that so many men do not take advantage of this fabulous and free offer?
I think many men, out of their rebellious nature, choose not to understand what Jesus means when He says “Take my yoke upon you.” After all, a yoke is defined as a frame that is used to join two together so that they can work as one. We convince ourselves, with a lot of help from Satan that we do not want to accept anyone’s yoke because, after all, we are men and real men stand on their own two feet. The irony is that we do not stop to consider what Jesus is really saying to us in this scripture. He is saying that we will be yoked with him for two reasons, first to learn from Him and second, but equally important, He says His yoke is easy. Don’t you get it? Jesus is offering to teach us how to find rest for our souls! This doesn’t mean that life will not be difficult at times and there won’t be challenges to overcome but it does mean that we will learn from the Savior how to provide rest to the one thing that will last for eternity, and that is our souls. Jesus is saying I’ll take on the heavy work and leave the light stuff for you so just give me your baggage. We are not yoked as equals but we have a divine partner that is taking on the load and making us look good. It is so simple it is scary but all it takes is giving Jesus the baggage and then trusting him to dispose of it the way our Heavenly Father has designed. Oh how glorious to have a God that wants to give us the easy half of being in the yoke and make our baggage light when it comes to our soul!
One other thought on this idea of baggage. If you have developed this practice of being yoked with Jesus and allowing Him to take the baggage from your life so that you might have rest for your soul, then you have a responsibility to coach and mentor other brothers to accomplish the same thing. Galatians 6: 2 says “Carry each other’s burdens (baggage), and in this way will fulfill the law of Christ.” We are to teach others what Christ has taught us. All too often in today’s world we find men enjoying the pain and misfortune of their fellow man. Most of us don’t have to go back very far in our lives to remember a time when we felt the sting of life’s many challenges and disruptions. We only need to stop for a moment and remember how weary we became under these circumstances and we can see the importance of sharing the message that Jesus has given in Matthew 11. Help others to see that there is a baggage agent named Jesus Christ that will take their baggage (burdens) and there is NO CHARGE!