WALK WITH THE WISE AND BECOME WISE, FOR A COMPANION OF FOOLS SUFFERS HARM.
How much can we accomplish in the kingdom of God when we operate by ourselves? Nothing! How much can we accomplish in this present Church Age if we do nothing and expect God to do everything? Nothing! God has committed Himself to work through the Church. We have the privilege to water and plant in God’s kingdom, “but God [makes] it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Nothing grows without God, but nothing grows if we don’t water and plant. The fact that nobody hears unless a preacher is sent (see Romans 10:14-15) illustrates the same principle. God could have chosen to bypass the Church, but He has chosen to work through us. It is His intention that we walk together, and Jesus has provided the perfect example of how that works.
Jesus was a carpenter during His youth, and His handiwork later became useful metaphors for His ministry. Carpenters didn’t frame houses in those days; they fashioned doors and yokes out of wood. A yoke is a heavy wooden beam that fits over the shoulders of two oxen. The yoke can only work if two oxen are in it and are pulling together. For the purpose of training, a young ox is yoked to an older ox that has “learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).
The young ox will be tempted to stray off to the left or to the right, but the old ox stays on the right path. The young ox may think the pace is too slow and try running ahead, but all he gets is a sore neck. Slowly, the young ox begins to realize the old ox knows how to walk. The pace is right and the course is true, so he decides to learn from him. “Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:30-31, NASB).
Being yoked with Jesus does not mean we sit around thinking pious thoughts expecting God to do it all. Nor does it mean running around in endless activities trying to do it all by ourselves. It is a walk with the only One who knows the way, who is the truth and has the life to make it possible. In Him we find rest for our souls, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light (see Matthew 11:29-30).
What would we learn from Jesus if we walked with Him? We would learn to take one day at a time and trust God for tomorrow (see Matthew 6:25-34). We would learn the priority of relationships. We would learn to love people and use things—instead of loving things and using people. We would learn what it means to be compassionate. Jesus said, “Go and learn with this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’” (Matthew 9:13).
This passage in Matthew 11:28-30 is the only place in the Bible where Jesus describes Himself, and He says, “I am gentle and humble in heart” (verse 29). With all the harshness and vulgarity surrounding us in this fallen world, we have been invited to walk with the gentle Jesus. Imagine that!
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
Why shouldn’t we ask or expect God to do all the work in the kingdom?
Why do we try to build God’s kingdom for Him instead of waiting on the Lord?
What is the practical significance of being yoked to Jesus? How does that work?
What is your tendency as a young Christian when yoked together with God? To run on ahead? To drop out? To stray off to the left of right?
Is being yoked together with God a liberating or binding concept to you? Why?