Resting With A Yoke On

I’m one of those happy people who gets to work in my pajamas sometimes. My work, however, doesn’t involve sleeping. I have to be awake. More than that, I have to be thinking, communicating, and putting significant effort in if I’m going to do a good job. You too, huh?

Maybe I was just extra-ready for bed, but when I read the classic verse recently, the reference to “rest” made me laugh:

“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.” –Matthew 11:29

Who rests with a yoke on?

Worn by animals under the direction of their master as they labor, yokes are devices for steering oxen and other livestock through the process of completing their purpose. Biblically, people are referred to as being under the yoke of slavery to sin and the yoke of kings or oppressive nations.

Taking on Jesus’ yoke means we, as laborers for Christ, submit to Him as a master. Jesus tells us about what He’s like as a master: gentle and humble. He says His yoke teaches us. That certainly differs from other kinds of yokes used to burden or belittle.

But the idea of His yoke being restful?

Work isn’t restful- even for doers like me.

Of course, the plain text isn’t talking about sleep-rest. What Jesus refers to is “rest for your soul.”

Rest for the soul– that we actually do find when submitting to His yoke, as His laborers.


Our lives are wrapped up in striving. We live by effort, working at this and that to create and fulfill until it’s time for what’s next. We work for money just to need to work for more money. Our goals are stepping stones to bigger goals. The mentality tends to be “make it count.”

Meanwhile, our souls are ever straining against the yokes of these masters. Our earthly masters don’t aim to fulfill us, but to be fulfilled.

Whether money, reputation, ambition, or meaning, our not-Christ masters and their yokes chaff against the truth of what God made us for: Him.

“That is why we labor and strive,” Paul explains to Timothy, “because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior” (1 Timothy 4:10.)

Do you want rest for your soul, rest for the soul weary from the striving to save you using money, fame, ambition, or anything else?

Put your hope in your Savior. You’ll put on His yoke. He’ll lead you without all the chaffing and straining against deadlines and expectations you weren’t made to meet. He’ll lead you in the way of perfect peace, a soul-restful path indeed.


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0 Replies to “Resting With A Yoke On

  1. Loved reading your words, sweet friend. Ah! The rest that we find to our souls when we make a total surrender to Christ and stop pulling against the reins and squirming in His grasp. That deep-settled rest and peace for the soul can only be found when we lose ourselves completely in Him and meekly submit to His will. I always find such refreshment for my spirit here…thank you for sharing what God lays upon your heart. You are such a blessing!

    1. Thank you Cheryl! You describe the struggle so vividly, I love it. Yes. Meekness is so lost to most of us in our current culture- but meek submission to Him is so refreshing! Thank you, YOU are a blessing to me : )

  2. When we put on the Christ’s yoke is when we are specifically working for Him. Remember that even on Oxen or other beasts of burden, their yoke is only work when they are working, not when they are resting (other than taking a break for water, or rest), eating, sleeping. Christ’s yoke is not only easy we don’t really ‘wear’ it all the time. We are allowed to rest, eat, sleep, even take vacations at times (for example missionaries come home from the mission field every so often.
    Bethany, thank you for your insights, wisdom, love for our Lord, and your dedication to His work! You are indeed a very special lady and child of the King!

    1. Larry! So thankful for your comment. I had never thought about taking the yoke off for rest since I’ve always connected soul-rest to working under His yoke. Great points!! Physical rest is so essential too. Thank you for contributing that bit of wisdom and encouraging me- our Lord is so kind!

  3. We’re so blessed to have Christ’s yoke instead of our own, which definitely can weigh me down. You working in your pajamas made me realize how I’m “working” right now in my shorts and t-shirt yet with high heels on! ha. I bought new shoes for my daughter’s wedding next weekend but I need to wear them a little first, so I put them on today to wear around the house to get used to them. 🙂 I’m glad no one can see me! ha.

  4. I love how you mentioned that the yoke is put on by the master when used with oxen. I had always associated the yoke with doing the work of Christ, but the yoke requires submission. In this case, we are taking on the yoke willingly to accomplish God’s purposes. I enjoyed reading your insights!

  5. i always think of the yoke described in this verse as being on two oxen walking side by side. So, how beautiful that Jesus walks beside us in our work. If we keep in step with him, we will find rest. Thank you for your encouragement.

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