So what are the yokes? For the last month, I have been reading Fr Larry Richard’s book, “Surrender, the Life-Changing Power of Doing God’s Will.” For the last several weeks I have also been studying humility. In all this, it occurred to me in a much deeper way than before that the two yokes are self-centeredness and love. Two yokes diametrically opposed to one another. I would imagine that if one becomes accustomed to a weight, even a crushing weight, one adapts. The yoke of this world, self-centeredness, is indeed a crushing weight. It is a yoke that no Christian is called nor created to carry, it is an unnecessary yoke.
It is easy to imagine that it suffices to claim the name of Christian to so many even though they still posses this yoke of iron. This yoke tells us that happiness and peace come from self-satisfaction. It is the primary message of this world and of our society. It is highly destructive and wholly enslaving. It is a perpetual drug that tells us if we just keep taking more hits that eventually we will find happiness in a lasting fashion. But it never really works, does it? One of the greater epiphanies I ever had happened to me when I was 24. I realized that no amount of money would ever be enough. I realized that no promotion or power would ever be enough. I realized that no amount of worldly good, toys, and pleasure would ever be enough. I realized I was living a life of perpetual want with no way to win. It is the inevitable conclusion when we focus on the self, it leads to a profound emptiness that no worldly thing can fulfill.
The yoke of Jesus removes the blinders from our eyes and gives us true clarity of vision. Because it is bound in truth, it is easier and satisfying. Selfless love is its own reward. Love gives us the joy and contentment our hearts so desire. It gives us peace in this life (despite the storms that rage around us) and becomes a wellspring of God’s grace to eternal life. In Matthew 6: 19- 20, Jesus reminds us to not accrue treasure for ourselves that by their nature can and will be destroyed, but to accrue treasure in heaven that can never be taken away nor wither away. This yoke, because it is the yoke Christ Himself carries, is mostly carried by Him.
I am finding, in my own life, that the more I allow the yoke of Christ to be the only yoke, the happier I am. It comes down to a choice. Which yoke? The yoke that oppresses me and leads me to fields that will never satisfy? Or the yoke carried by Christ that leads to the fulfillment of all our deepest and worthiest hopes and desires. Christ does not make this decision for us. We have to make it for ourselves. Our choice determines our destiny in this life and the life to come. I would imagine there are so many who do feel weary and tired. I would imagine that we want to be free of worry and a slavish devotion to desires that will always remained unfulfilled. Selfless love, in the person of Christ, is the way that breaks those fetters.