Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
It will soon be March; that’s three months since we made all those New Year’s resolutions. So how have we got on? Now might be a good opportunity to look again at them to see how many of them we have managed to keep. Some will have been easy to keep whilst others, more difficult to achieve, may have ended up in the bin, at least until next year. Yet if the resolution was worthwhile, and only careful discernment will have determined that, should we not have tried a bit harder? Alone it may not have been easy, but with someone else’s assistance, could we have achieved our goal? Did we not think to ask our best friend for His help and support? Many years ago the psalmist said: ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.’ Psalm 46:1(NIV). Why did we not ask Him to help us? Indeed, later the Evangelist spells out the message quite clearly: ‘Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”’ Matthew 19:26 (NIV). Jesus is always there for us, willingly offering assistance, if only we will take it. Did He not say: ‘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.’ Matthew 11:28-30(NIV).
I rather like the picture painted here. Jesus as the son of a carpenter would have been well used to making, or helping his father Joseph, make yokes for the local pack animals. His listeners too, would have been familiar with a yoke that binds two animals in tandem. Pulling a heavy load is so much easier if the two work together as one. Jesus then, is here (not there) ready to walk with us, to help carry our heavy load, along the way God has laid down for us, if we will accept his yoke.
Lent starts on February 14th this year. It is a time to turn away from our sinfulness and recommit ourselves to following Christ; the perfect time to look again at our New Year’s resolutions. To tackle those that prayerful discernment tells us really do need keeping. And remember we are not alone for: “With God all things are possible”
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years