During the early 1990’s I had the misfortune to be made redundant from my Job, I was a service manager at a motorcycle dealer at the time. I loved that Job as it combined my passion for motorcycles and the necessity of gainful employment. This lead to a prolonged period where over the next four years I was made redundant three times from various jobs with some quite long periods of unemployment in-between. During those periods where I had no paid work I busied myself doing voluntary work, because doing nothing wasn’t an option, it’s something I find quite soul destroying.
The fact is we were created to work, to be fruitful, and the trick is to find the right balance between the right sort of work and rest. It seems to me that we can fall into one of two traps; one is to be so consumed with work that it becomes the be all and end all of our lives, and the other is that we spend more time than we should on our own pleasures so failing to be fruitful in the process. Sometimes we need to be reminded that what Jesus offers is not freedom from work, but freedom from burdensome labour. The ‘easy yoke’ Jesus speaks of still means having something to do, a purpose, a desire to see God’s purposes realised in the lives of those around us. It is something that summons forth our best wills and intentions to see God’s kingdom realised, something that can only come through the gift of his Holy Spirit, not under the compulsion of the law. Jesus said in our reading for today:
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)
It is only when we accept the yoke of the gentle and humble Lord that our own soul can be truly at ease.