Monday, September 13, 2010

Take This Job and…

"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

My parents made several trips to Costa Rica in the late ‘70s to help with construction of a Bible college in San Jose. They became friends with a missionary couple there, Bill and Hilda Bradney. As God would have it, a few years later, the Bradneys were missionaries-in-residence at my Bible college in the States.

One morning in class, Hilda held up a small brightly colored souvenir from Costa Rica. I immediately recognized it. My parents had brought several of these back from their trips.

This piece was a yoke like oxen would wear. Hilda explained how a poorly made yoke would cut into the neck of the beast making the work much harder and much more painful than it needed to be. A properly made yoke was smooth and would allow the animal to perform the task without injury.

This was exactly what Jesus was saying in this passage. There is a hard way of doing things, and there is an easier way. There is my way of doing thing, and there is God’s way. Now, please don’t misunderstand, either way there is work involved. The question is do we go about our work in a way that brings harm or in a way that gives life?

If we get to the end of our day exhausted from worry and stress, we have a heavy burden from a jagged yoke. If we feel the frustration from trying to please an unreasonable boss, client or customer, we haven’t acknowledged that there is a higher Boss that deserves our loyalty and who completely understands (Revelation 2:2). If we feel that our success is entirely up to us, then it certainly seems like we’re pushing a boulder uphill. All of this is the product of a rough yoke.

God challenges us to work hard (Proverbs 14:23), which is the kind of work that God deserves (Colossians 3:23). But, His work doesn’t leave us bruised or broken. Here’s the secret: you don’t have to change jobs to get a better fitting yoke. Your success in life depends more on what happens in you than what happens around you. That’s not merely a platitude. It’s a foundational truth in Scripture and in the business world. I just finished When the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins last night. He compares similar companies during similar time periods facing similar adversity. The companies that succeed are humble, diligent, methodical and assured. The companies that fail are arrogant, growth-obsessed, panicky and unfocused.

The question is not which company do you work for? The question is which set of qualities best characterizes you. One set is the result of a heavy burden, while the other is the result of an easy yoke.

I challenge you to lay down your way of doing things and your take on life and ask Jesus to show you His vision for your life. Ask for His perspective. Ask for His help. He is more than glad to give it to you.

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