Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “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 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Stay close to Jesus and you won’t live in fear.”
Those of you who have known me for a long time have probably heard me quote and explain Matthew 11:28-30 more than a few times. That’s because it’s one of my personal life verses. A “life verse” is a passage of scripture that’s especially meaningful and helpful to you and which you recite, think about, and mediate on frequently, and which you make an extra effort to apply in your life. I have several other life verses as well.
In this passage Jesus used a metaphor that His listeners in that day would have easily related to. He pictured a team of oxen yoked together and working in a field. His listeners would have understood that in every team of oxen there is a lead ox, which is bigger, stronger, and more experienced, and there is a follower ox, which is younger, smaller, and less experienced. The lead ox carries most of the load and provides the direction. The follower ox walks alongside the lead ox, sharing in the load but following the lead ox.
In this parable Jesus was saying “Let me be your lead ox. Yoke yourself to Me and let’s walk through life together. I will carry most of the load and I will provide all of the direction. You just stay next to Me and we will do this together.”
The point of the lesson is that life is always better with Jesus than without Him. And that’s true regardless of the circumstances of that life. Whether you are rich or poor, healthy or sick, living in the USA or in a remote part of Africa, whatever the circumstances of that life are, life will always be better with Jesus than without Him. He will walk with you through your days and He will help you with strength, direction, courage, and assurance.
That truth is especially important during times like these. We’re living in unsettled and uncertain days right now. The coronavirus pandemic is a serious and dangerous thing. And as was noted in yesterday’s devotional, it’s especially insidious because it is invisible and you don’t even know it’s there until it’s too late and you are already infected and it’s making you sick. Additionally, our nation is in an economic tailspin because of this. The economy is essentially shut down and we don’t know how long this is going to last or how bad the impact will be.
We all need strength, comfort, peace, and assurance from Jesus. We need to be close to Him, walking through this with Him. I encourage you to stay very, very close to the Lord during these times. Stay yoked to Him and He will get you through this.