This coming Lunar New Year will be rather muted due to the restrictive measures of Covid-19.
But surprising timely, we celebrate the Year of the Ox, symbol of strength that is so needed in this time of global upheaval brought by the pandemic.
As this is the Year of the Ox, let me draw your attention to an Ox-related Bible passage.
“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)
In the ancient agricultural world, oxen typically work in pairs.
Two oxen are yoked together. One is a trained seasoned ox. The other is a new young ox. Naturally the experienced ox bears the majority of the load. And since the older one leads, the younger ox does not have to wonder what to do. He learns from his mentor and gains the knowledge and skill to teach others.
This very much resembles discipleship.
Jesus invites us to “learn of Him,” which is another way of saying, “Be my disciple.”
Jesus also declares His yoke is easy, which does not mean “simple” but “good.”
Jesus is saying, “Yoke with me. Let me disciple you. I’ll bear the weight of the burden of responsibilities, no matter how overwhelming it may seem to you at times. For My yoke is good and you will find rest and companionship in our labour together.”
Our Lord is saying He is our co-partner in the work of His Kingdom. When He gave us the Great Commission, it means together (“com”) in “mission.”
We can trust God to do His part as He expects us to do ours.
We are not alone in our commission.
We are not alone in our labouring for the Kingdom.
We are not alone in our ploughing for the harvest.
We are not alone in pulling the heavy load.
Remember you are yoked with the One whom you can gain strength and direction.
Remember always you are yoked side-by-side with the One that you can lean on and into.
On this Lunar New Year of the Ox I wish you a very blessed Christ-yoked year.