Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Yoke Is Easy....

Every so often a person enters your life who restores your hope for humanity.  The person so evinces the character of Jesus, any doubt you might have about the existence of God quickly vanishes.  Those of you who have faithfully followed this blog will know my beautiful wife fits the description I mean, and that is one of the zillion reasons I love her so much.  Even though she is constantly on my mind, my wife doesn't happen to be the person I'm thinking about in this context at this moment, though.

Years ago, Clarence Wildes came on board the pastoral staff at the church I was attending.  They made him the visitation pastor.Clarence has one of the gentlest hearts I've known in a fellow human being; a model of meekness and purity, Clarence is the poster child of the beatitudes; so you can imagine how popular he became with the sick and infirm parishioners.  The rest of us cherished him, too.

This humble man possesses the childlike attributes of trust and faithfulness our Lord stressed as fundamental to entering His kingdom.  These childlike qualities manifest themselves in Clarence in impishness, as well.  His quiet demeanor easily distracts one to the coming salvo of insightful and clever humor that rarely disappoints, and is always accompanied by a sparkle in his eyes.  But this childlike nature in no way implies simple-mindedness.  Clarence is an avid scholar of C. S. Lewis, and always quite prepared to hold his own in the meatiest of theological discussions.  But what I admire most about Clarence is he never lets doctrine or abstract ideas get in the way of serving King Jesus by loving people by always trying to see them as God sees them.

Clarence came to mind recently because I have found myself in one fashion or another embroiled in the endless conversation about God's sovereignty and human responsibility.  Wait! Step away from that escape key!  I'm not going to drag you into that fray, here.  No, I only want to share a relevant lesson Clarence had taught me years ago concerning Jesus' invitation to all of us:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” [NET]

Clarence explained how his father had employed oxen for certain tasks on their farm; I don't recall what the tasks were, but it's not important.  He said the way they trained an adolescent ox for the job was by yoking it to an adult.  The adult actually bore the load of both yokes, but the young ox in this manner remained involved, learning the process of the job as it followed the experienced oxen.  The young ox shared, therefore, in the work of the other oxen, and walked the same path they did.  But the adult ox carried what the adolescent couldn't, while showing it what they both would do together more completely when the young ox fully matured.

It's just like Clarence to cut through all of the theological jargon and hair-splitting, and bring us to the simple truth and power of faith.

Clarence has grown old and afflicted with Parkinson's disease; yet none of this has dimmed the light of the Holy Spirit shining unabashedly from his soul. And this light will continue to shine because Clarence never forgets to whom he must remain yoked.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but lives such as Clarence's take us out of words, altogether, where we are no longer encumbered by them and  so can finally begin to understand what the apostle John meant when he wrote, "By this we know that we are in him. The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked."


jeff said...

I wonder if Christ has been yoked with me many times in my life...

Jon Kokko said...

I'm always praying for more of such people in my life and then I'm realizing the need more and more to live like one.

Bruce said...

I can dig it. Or putting it another way, the more and more I need Jesus.