Ham & Eggs: Involved or Committed
Three Births that You May Have Overlooked

Burdened, Laden, and Free

Women_miners2njc98unv VanGough

We can all relate to being burdened, being weighted down by habits, behaviors, regrets, haunting memories, frustrations, and disappointments. Those are the things within us that burden us. Then, there are the outside forces of oppression and the limitations of our humanity and of society. We are burdened and heavy laden as Jesus said,

We ask ourselves, "Who is God?"

Who is God and what does that mean to me in the middle of this mess?

We wonder who we are and we get mixed messages.

We are told that we are wonderfully made and fashioned for a purpose, but we cannot get the traction we need.

Sometimes, we feel like wretches.

In the muddle and mess, we hear the call of Jesus to come.

Who Is God?

God is all mercy and grace—

    not quick to anger, is rich in love.

God is good to one and all;
    everything he does is soaked through with grace.

Creation and creatures applaud you, God;
    your holy people bless you.

They talk about the glories of your rule,
    they exclaim over your splendor,

Letting the world know of your power for good,
    the lavish splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal;
    you never get voted out of office.

God always does what he says,
    and is gracious in everything he does.

God gives a hand to those down on their luck,
    gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.

These are the qualities of God: Mercy, grace, patience, forgiveness, abounding love, and goodness to all. God's kingdom is good and eternal. God's ways are wonderful. God is constantly reaching out to broken, wounded, hurting, frustrated people to lift them.

This is the context in which we find any legitimate self-understanding.

So, then, if God is good, and God made me, who am I and what do I do?

Who Am I?

Wretched or Wonderful?

A Wretch Like Me

If God has created me fearfully and wonderfully, why am I still a mess?

“  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” – Romans 7:24

“ Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: - Revelation 3:17

No one aspires to wretchedness. All resist the implication that they are wretched. No one wants to be known as a wretch.

However, to be a recipient of grace, the soul must know its great need and acknowledge that it is depraved and lost in a sea of sin.

The sound of grace, the voice of God, the Word of the Gospel, that Word which was made flesh has sounded forth from Heaven into the realm of time and space. It has declared with unambiguous truth, “Thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and bind, and naked.”

And without a breath or a rest in the song of grace, it has declared to us, the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve that we shall be called Benjamin, for we are “the beloved of the Lord.”

Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin, wretched in his righteousness, zealous in his misguided legalism, vengeful in his passion to please God. “Why persecutest thou me,” our Lord inquires. And grace came to Brother Saul and the wretched one became the instrument of proclaiming grace to the nations, even “the least of the Apsotles” and the chief of sinners who would declare,

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”_ I Corinthians 15:10

How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.        

We must know our state apart from grace that we might fully appreciate what God has wrought in us and done for us. It evokes in the heart of an honest soul both gratitude and hope, flowing from the fount of humility.

To be eligible for great grace, we must know how great our need is.

I may be a wretch, but there is more and it is wonderful.

Yes; It Is a Mess.

Jesus looks at the world around him and sees a bundle of contractions.

He sees us conflicted with and among ourselves.

“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,

‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
    we wailed, and you did not mourn.’

“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

But out of this, he sees something simple and wonderful.

Children and common folks respond to a simple and caring gospel of hope:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.”

Wearing the the Yoke - The Wonder of it.

What do I do?

What does Jesus say about it all?

The wonder comes when we wear the yoke of Christ.

There is a yoke that fits you well.

It is easy, but now in the way you might think of ease.

There is a role that suits you completely.

You may work harder than you've ever worked, but your steps will be light, your heart will be light, and your hope will be bright.

You will awaken to new days with a renewed spirit and an enthusiasm to start again.

There is a calling that is perfect for who you are ... who you were made to be.

There is a partnership that will bring deep rest to your soul, even as you labor with more energy and output than you have ever experienced.

"... my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:30

God DOES give you more than you can handle ... just no more temptation than you can run from.

He teaches us to trust and rely on His strength and help.

It is never more than He can help us handle.

It is too much to handle alone.

A yoke is "a bar or frame that is attached to the heads or necks of two work animals (such as oxen) so that they can pull a plow or heavy load." - Merriam-Webster


“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 of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” —Matthew 11:25-30

Jesus' yoke is the yoke that allows us to plow with him and with each other.

It fits. Anything that does not fit, being to big or too small, hinder and injures us.

It is is reasonable. It is not a collection of hundreds of religious regulations nor is the arbitrary rule of an oppressive, occupying force.

It is the yoke that affords us the rest that can only come from fulfillment.

The easy yoke is χρηστός, kindly to wear, good, and serviceable.

The kindred noun, χρηστότης, writings, is rendered kindness in the writings of Paul.

"Christ's yoke is like feathers to a bird; not loads, but helps to motion" (Jeremy Taylor).

No man or woman is happiest in a vegetative state of inactivity and drudgery.

We have a desire within us to make a difference.

The yoke of Christ is a call to work in his kingdom, but it is a call the the weary, the burdened, and the oppressed. It is not a call to retire or retreat, but an invitation to come and engage in something that matters.

When we are so engaged, we find real rest and deep joy.

What do I do?

What does Jesus call me to do?

Come and wear the yoke.


A Final Thought

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” – Romans 7:18

As I struggled with my humanity this week, I was confronted with some important truths. There is no way that my flesh will ever improve to the place where God can use it or be pleased by it. In the flesh I am selfish, irritable, weak, un-spiritual, spiritually lazy, hungry for flesh-satisfying stimulation, unreasonable, stubborn, and emotionally volatile -just to name a few of my “charming” characteristics (They certainly “charm” me into deception).

My flesh is not getting better and shows no prospects of getting better.

Read Romans 7-8 to get the picture.

We all face Paul’s dilemma, and we are all disappointed when we discover that we cannot become what God wants us to be by doing what we think God wants us to do.

So, what’s the point?

The point is that, through grace, as God makes us what He wants us to be, we will desire to do, also by grace, the things that God wants to do through us. And, as we trust Him and turn our dials toward the Spirit and begin to walk in the Spirit that will all happen.

We’ve all been disappointed by people who we thought were strong Christians, but let us down. Those disappointments have been shocking at times and have caused us to question ourselves. That is not a bad thing.

What is dangerous is if we ever start feeling so proud of our “efforts” and “successes” that we forget we are vulnerable and weak and that we are capable, in the flesh of the same falls that we have witnessed in others.

We are totally and absolutely dependent upon God for the Christian life and God is totally and absolutely dependable to accomplish His purposes in and through us. He will never let us down.

 Trust Him and commit your moments and days to His care.