“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 11:28,29.
What do you think Jesus meant when He said, "I will give you rest?" When I read this verse, I imagine Jesus tucking me in bed, giving me hugs and kisses, running his fingers through my hair, and maybe even bringing me a snack, all with soft "elevator" music in the background. Now, this is what I call rest. But it is not what He's talking about, because right after, "I will give you rest," He says, "Take my yoke upon you." What? Rest by taking up a yoke? Do you know what a yoke is? An ox certainly does, and it tries to run the other way when it sees one. A yoke is a solid wooden bar with a harness placed on a strong animal's shoulders to pull a hefty load. A cross would qualify as a yoke. Yes, this is how Jesus plans to give rest for our souls. But, He says he'll be yoked in the harness with us all the way, its actually His yoke, not ours- He will show us, step by step, how to plow through, how to pull, how to rest while we labor with Him. Shoulder to shoulder with Jesus, we rest in His work as He teaches us how to labor in the field.
The key to all this is, "Learn from me because I am humble and gentle at heart." As a teacher, this phrase caught my attention since it says that learning from Him is easier because he is humble and gentle at heart. Communicating knowledge is not only an intellectual function, but it also involves the emotions, and I would add, it involves the spirit as well. Applied to our teachers and school in general, Jesus is telling us that our teaching should be shoulder to shoulder with our students, and we need to be humble and gentle at heart for our students to learn properly. This is an education that transforms! Personal, long-term, lots of hard work, and full of rest for the soul. In a transforming classroom, the student and the teacher find rest for their souls as they take the yoke of Jesus every day.
Knowledge is important, but it is so readily available that most people have it, so when choosing the right teacher, the challenge is to find someone who is humble and gentle at heart. This is impossible to find in people unless they have a genuine walk with Jesus Christ; no matter how kind one is outwardly, it is the heart that matters. The teaching that Jesus is talking about, which transforms lives, can be accomplished only through someone who is in Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, and established in the Word of God.
As I reflect on how this impacts our strategy for church-planting and education at Access International School, I have to focus on building people up in their walk with Christ and in the community so they can work together in humility and gentleness. Our strategy is long-term, tailored for the individual, and focused on the community. It may not always be glamorous with explosive growth and numbers, but it does change lives and communities. The effects are deep and sustainable.
Your financial support enables us to continue our work. We are working in several countries to encourage the diverse expressions of the gospel of Jesus Christ. People who once thought the Bible is not intended for them are now embracing Jesus Christ and His Word. Join us in transforming the world.
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