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Easy or Hard?

Father and son walking in the surf at Chesterman Beach in Tofino, British Columbia

Father and son walking in the surf at Chesterman Beach in Tofino, British Columbia

Secundus pondered this and said, “I remember your teaching about Jesus’ words, ‘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.’

“But how does this effort we are to make line up with Jesus saying his yoke is easy? Because I have to say none of this seems easy.”

“Well,” Andrew paused, “first remember that when a rabbi uses the word ‘yoke,’ he means his teachings, as well as his way of life. In our Hebrew culture disciples followed rabbis, and sought to emulate their very way of living, not just their teaching. The rabbi/disciple relationship was very intimate, involving much more than just a teacher/student.

“So when Jesus says his yoke is easy he is saying that to follow him, to live the way he lives, is the easier life.”

“The easy life?” Secundus frowned.

“Easier. But yes, absolutely,” Andrew replied. “Just think about it, if we actually lived the way Jesus lived our lives would be so much easier. Jesus’ way was a relaxed, peaceful way. He was always purposeful, but never in a hurry. He had a plan and a purpose to be sure, but his peace came from the plan always involving seeing, seeking, wanting and waiting for the Holy Spirit.

“But …” Andrew paused, “We make it hard because we are not willing to see, seek, want and wait. To get this point across I like to ask our followers this: “Is it hard to follow Jesus?”

I always get an immediate ‘yes.’ But Jesus says it is not hard. So what’s the answer?”

Secundus shook his head.

“The answer,” Andrew continues, “is that it is not hard to be a Christian, as some are calling us now, it is hard to be a half-Christian. We try to keep one foot firmly planted in our own kingdom, and one foot gingerly planted in the Kingdom. That, my friend, doesn’t work very well, does it?

“It is only when we press on and surrender fully to the Kingdom, that our lives start to be in harmony with Jesus’ teachings, and then, despite the stumbling blocks Satan will always throw at us, and the difficulty that inevitably comes from being alive in this fallen world, our lives gradually but surely become easier.”

Secundus smiled and said, “Okay, I think I’m seeing what you’re saying. So you could say it’s either easy to follow Jesus or it’s impossible. Is that right?”

“Well, that is a new way of saying it, Secundus, but you are exactly right. Let’s be sure to share that thought with the other apostles. Yes, it is either easy to follow, or it’s impossible. It’s easy, but only with the Spirit empowering us, and it’s impossible in our own power.”

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