When I first started teaching, I had a mentor. She was an expert in the field of teaching I was going into. We would discuss plans and problems. We would talk about how to deal with various issues in the classroom. When I was ready to just go home in the middle of the day, she would calm me down. Throughout that whole first year of teaching she provided support and encouragement. On those days that I made it through, but wondered about coming back the next day, we talked and I had a chance to decompress in her room. A good mentor is priceless. Many companies are recognizing this and are using mentors to help new employees adjust to the climate and the culture of their business.
We have a program like that in our church. People who make professions of faith are paired with a more experienced Christian who leads them through a Bible Study on what this Christian life is like and becomes a prayer partner. Ultimately, though, as Christians we are often on our own. Let’s face it, we don’t share a lot of our troubles with others, especially in our own church, because people might attribute those troubles to our sin and think we are weak in the faith. Still, we have a mentor who always has time for us and knows all about us. Jesus. “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)
I know that once we commit to following Christ we become perfect. /waits for lightning to strike. I know that’s a completely false statement, but it would be an easy conclusion to make based on how much we share with each other. Sure, we share family concerns, health issues, and other prayer requests; but those prayer requests almost never deal with struggles we have with sin. We are ashamed of our sin. We don’t want those other people, who must be perfect, hear that we are struggling. Meanwhile, they see us as perfect and are afraid to admit their own sin. Even in the midst of all that hiding, we still have a God who loves us and cares for us. Jesus told us to depend on Him. The example He gives is of a yoke. A yoke was used to train oxen getting used to working. The more experienced ox would do the job and the new ox would learn to do things right because he was forced to follow the way of the experienced ox – you might call that ox his mentor. If you are trying to live the Christian life – get yoked with Jesus.
Life is hard for a new Christian especially. But it’s hard for everyone. The message of Jesus, though, is that it doesn’t need to depend on us. We can trust Him with all of our sins, all of our fears, all of our hopes, and all of our dreams. We learn from Him by being yoked with Him and walking with Him every day. He isn’t demanding in the way we live, but He draws us gently into His way. When we do things right, we rest in Him and let Him do the work. That makes the yoke with which we are joined with Him easy. He takes on our burdens and gives us the burden of following Him. Since He does the work, He does the forgiveness, He does the loving, the burden is light. That doesn’t mean that life is easy. That doesn’t mean we’ll never sin. That doesn’t mean we’ll never have problems. What it means is that He will be with us in the midst of all of our troubles. He will never take of His side of the yoke and tell us that we are on our own. So, if you are weary and burdened – go to Jesus and find rest. You will gain the strength you need for everyday life.
Lord, there are times when I’m weary and burdened. Too often I realize that happens when I am trying to do things my own way. Help me to learn each day how to join Your yoke and rest in You.