Why does it seem like I don’t make much progress in my Christian life? I struggle, I pull, and I strain, yet it seems that the wind is against me. I work hard and dig in but then there is just an inch of growth to show for it.
A few weeks ago, I went with my family to the Haddam Neck Fair. We watched a whole host of things. We saw the tractor pull. The boys went on some rides. Sam was in his own tractor pull contest. I watched the little pigs race. Most of all, we watched the oxen pull.
I am mesmerized by the oxen pull. I love watching the handler lead the oxen. They know how to get their steers pulling together with force. And every handler works differently.
At one point I saw a woman begin walking her oxen around the fairgrounds. At first, I was a little nervous to go near them. I always pictured oxen like bulls. In my mind, they seemed more like caged Tasmanian devils than the creatures they really are. Actually, they are quite docile, content to walk alongside their handler. They didn’t seem to mind the children touching them.
During the day God nudged me with the problem I was having. I thought of those wonderful words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Some people see these words as an option from Jesus. They think it is a nice concept to be yoked to Christ, but they also see it as a burden. They say to themselves, Why should I take on a burden? They believe they are not under a burden. They fail to see the heavy burden that is weighing them down. They miss out on Jesus’ offer.
That is not the case with me. I want to be yoked up with Jesus. I want to pull. I want the thrill of being with Him. I want to honor Him with all that I do.
No, my problem is a little different.
I have this image of myself yoked up next to a huge ox. The weight is clipped in and I am straining away with all that I have. I am digging in but I am getting nowhere. Next to me, yoked in with me, is this mighty ox just chewing away on some grass. He isn’t pulling yet because the Master hasn’t said, “Go!” But there I am jumping into the yoke, looking like I am working hard. But I can’t move ahead because there is no way I could pull the weight in the first place. Also, I end up pulling the oxen who isn’t going because He’s waiting for the Handler.
Oh, if I could just wait and listen…the weight would be pulled. The Mighty Ox would do the work. It would be a thrilling ride.