“Easy Yoke” – Sermon by Rev. Brian Combs, 7/2/14
A woman, so the story goes, was pronounced clinically dead, flat lined at the hospital. She saw the light, felt the eternal embrace. On the other side was her beloved grandfather, waiting with welcome. He said, “I’ll give you a tour, but just remember you’re time isn’t up, you’re going back to earth.” On the magic carpet ride above the clouds, heaven, it turned out, was not what she had expected. No poolside couches, no umbrella drinks, no naps in the sun. Instead, everyone was turning wrenches and mending fences and threading needles. She turned to her grandfather and asked, “Why does everyone have a job in heaven?”
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’;the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.”
What burden does Jesus ease?
The Pharisee’s religion of working for grace
The guilt of not knowing everything about God
That Jesus doesn’t put a yoke on us, but shares his
Thoreau says, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation.” Laborers in vain who toil in rocky soil, who hitch themselves to plows that won’t till, who aimlessly exhaust themselves in fields of futility. Hell isn’t a destination, but a decision to clock into a career everyday that’s contrary to the will of God.
To know something about agriculture is to know something about this text: a single animal on a single yoke will likely wear itself out before the ground is broken. But two beasts pulling in partnership with a double yoke can tend the land all day long.
Church, Jesus doesn’t give us rest from work- there are wedding banquets to plan, demoniacs to calm, crosses to carry- but he does give rest from meaningless work by inviting us to become his yokefellow. Faith, after all, is yoking yourself to the God you believe in.
“Grandfather, why does everyone in heaven have a job?” He answered, “God created us with a holy vocation, as a kingdom come employee. But most on earth refuse, just too tired, too scared, too stuck, too proud, too comfortable in a single yoke that never fit. Heaven is the place where we are finally and most fully doing what we were created to do.
The woman came back to life on the operating table, was dismissed from the hospital and immediately quit her dead end job and got about the business of God’s work.
Many believe that Jesus is only Good News once we get to heaven, but he is always promising Good News to all who yoke themselves to him.