Jesus proclaimed: ‘My yoke is easy & My burden is light.’ The yoke comes before the burden. Oxen first have to be yoked together before they can pull the load together.
This proclamation was made after Jesus told His disciples to learn meekness & humility from Him. The result would be ‘rest for your souls’.
‘Come to Me you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am meek & humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls.
‘For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.’ (Matthew 11: 28-30)
Meekness is seen in a teachable spirit and servant hood, whereas humility is revealed in submission & obedience. Jesus emptied Him of all self-importance and took on the form of a servant. He humbled Himself by becoming obedient even to the death of the cross. Therefore God highly exalted Him and gave Him a name that is above every name that at His name every knee would bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord. (Philippians 2:5-9)
I had a wonderful revelation about Jesus’ burden this week – something I never really understood before. Here are some evidences of that revelation.
I meditated on the Scripture and saw how Simon of Cyrene was compelled by a Roman soldier to help to carry Jesus’ cross to Golgotha (‘place of the skull’)/ (Matthew 27:32). The pitibulum or crossbar of the cross was a heavy beam of wood that was placed on top of a tree stump to form a cross. Jesus had to carry this part of the cross up to Golgotha, but because of the 39 stripes on his back and the beatings in his face he was weakened and stumbled under the weight of his burden.
Simon (‘a reed’) was compelled to take Jesus’ burden. Suddenly I realized that other people help to make our burden light. Simon was just an unknown face in the crowd, a curious bystander, but his name is known for 2 000 years because he helped to carry the burden of Jesus.
When opportunity knocks you have to respond and take it. You cannot say, ‘I will do it when it suits me.’ Simon saw someone bearing a heavy burden and when the soldiers compelled him to carry the cross of Jesus he did not run away but stepped forward and took the burden upon himself.
Jesus took our burden of sin upon Himself to set us free. He took the burden of sickness & disease so that we can be healed. By His stripes we were healed. (I Peter 2:24) He wore a crown of thorns to break the curse over our lives. He suffered being separated from His Father that we might be reconciled to God through faith in Him.
The yoke has to do with learning from Jesus through others as well. It is easier to learn the Word of God when you have an anointed teacher. Once you know the
Word of God the Holy Spirit will lead and guide you according to the Word of God. It is easier to face life knowing the Word of God than not knowing the Word of God. It is a light to your path and a lamp to your feet. It is much better than much fine gold. The Holy Spirit leads us into the truth of the Word of God and helps our infirmities and teaches us concerning all things.
There are different kinds of burdens: spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, financial, organizational, local, national & international. Life offers challenges that sometimes weigh heavily like burdens. What I realized is how God directs other people to help us carry our burdens or to make our burden lighter.
We are in the process of building Harvester Church building in Cape Town. We gave our first church Southern Christian Centre, 25 Pieter Ackroyd Avenue, Bassonia, Johannesburg away to the Apostolic Faith Mission. Nola & I paid the deposit to purchase the church land on top of the hills of Bassonia. I also took out a loan from Old Mutual that I ceded back to the church to do the final payments. So we literally sowed a church building with over 300 people to the AFM.
Since then we concentrated on reaching the world for Christ and to encourage other churches. I ministered in strange places, under blue gum trees, under a mango tree, under a thorn bush, in restaurants, pubs, Civic Centers, Town Halls, Theaters & Stadiums as well as in Churches and homes everywhere.
I once said to the Lord: ‘If someone gives me R2, 5 million to build a church I will start building a church.’ Two years ago a couple came to take Nola & I out for dinner and told us the Lord told them to give us R2, 5 million to build a church and a cottage on the church ground we already owned in Burgundy Estates. Nola and I loaned R400 000 on our house and gave it towards the ground and raised another R400 000 to purchase it. The church members raised the balance of R600 000 to buy the land for R1, 4 million.
Once the steel structure and roof was up and foundation laid and the cottage completed we still needed a large amount to finish the building. It seemed impossible. It was a burden we could not carry. The banks do not want to loan money to churches and would not extend our personal loan either. We sold building units for R5 000 each but a week ago we still needed R1, 9 million to complete the job.
I prayed about it early one morning and the Word of the Lord encouraged me: ‘Praise awaits you in the house of the Lord!’ (Psalm 65) David told the Lord that praise awaits Him in the church! So I said to the Lord like David did: ‘if you help us finish the building we will praise you in that church!’
Then David expounded how the Lord provides rain for the dry earth to make it soft so that people can sow in it to produce a harvest that can feed people. So I asked the Lord to provide for us so that we can feed His sheep in the church.
Then David concluded with: ‘the Lord crowns the year with goodness!’ I asked the Lord to crown this year 2017 with goodness so that we can praise Him and feed His sheep.
Then I decided to call some individuals to humbly ask their help. One by one they responded. Now we only need R700 000! The Lord touched the hearts of people to make our burden lighter! We suddenly felt how that heavy burden lifted. His burden is light and His yoke is easy!
We trust God to help us raise the R700 000 in due time so that we can complete the church building and brick paving for parking by the end of November 2017! This is the Lord’s doing, and we are astonished. Only God can do something like this. It is marvelous in our eyes. When we could not carry the burden alone anymore, the Lord commanded people to help us carry our burden to make it lighter – just like Simon of Cyrene carried the cross of Jesus for Him.
When Moses could no longer carry the burden of a nation his father-in-law told him to get other men to help him do the job of counseling. When Israel fought against their enemy two men held up Moses’ arms – while his arms were up they won the battle. When his arms sagged they lost the battle. So two men, Aaron & Hur stepped up to hold Moses’ arms up until Israel defeated their enemy!
The churches in the New Testament sent relief to the first church in Jerusalem to help them in their time of need. The church of the Philippians supported Paul in his missions on a regular basis. Wealthy women supported Jesus.
Without the help of people who believe in what Nola & I and our family are doing we are not be able to accomplish anything. The list of names of people that made our burden light is far too numerous to mention! But everyone that gave sacrificially over the years and every one that faithfully paid their tithes and offerings are the reason we could minister in a full time capacity for 36 years as a family and reach 117 nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only the Lord can repay & reward those people in ways that make sense to them.
We share other people’s loads by interceding for them, giving to them, encouraging them, exhorting them and literally caring for them.
If you think back you realize how many times other people lightened your burden. How many times have you lightened the burden for others? To be part of a church body of believers is mutually beneficial. I always say: you don’t need a church till you need a church.
I pray that you will grasp this truth today: ‘My yoke is easy & My burden is light.’ May the eyes of your understanding be enlightened that you may see this truth and be encouraged.