Two kinds of digging
Jesus didn’t speak against hard work at Matthew 11:28-30 but the expression “toiling” carries the thought of exhausting labor with no worthwhile outcome. “Loaded down” implies being burdened beyond one’s ability to carry the load, perhaps like a donkey with a bundle that’s too heavy for him.
The difference between this kind of labor and normal work can be compared to two men. One is digging for a hidden treasure while the second is digging ditches in a concentration camp.
One enjoys his task while the other endlessly toils on with no hope. What makes the difference is the goal or purpose of the work.
Two kinds of trees
A heavy snowfall can cripple large trees like elm and oak due to the weight breaking off the branches.
On the other hand, evergreens droop with the burden until it slides off.
So, too, we should not let burdens break us down. Bend a little perhaps but not break.
The two boxes
I have in my hands two boxes
Which God gave me to hold
He said, “Put all your sorrows in the black,
And all your joys in the gold.”
I heeded his words, and in the two boxes
Both my joys and sorrows I store
But though the gold became heavier each day
The black was as light as before
With curiosity, I opened the black
I wanted to find out why
And I saw, in the base of the box, a hole
Which my sorrows had fallen out by
I showed the hole to God, and mused aloud,
“I wonder where my sorrows could be.”
He smiled a gentle smile at me.
“My child, they’re all here with me.”
I asked, “God, why give me the boxes,
“Why the gold, and the black with the hole?”
“My child, the gold is for you to count your blessings,
“The black is for you to let go”.
No man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today, that the weight is more than a man can bear. — Gordon MacDonald
Runner fully dressed
Self-control means that we strip off any added weights that can slow us down.
Imagine watching a group of men race. All the runners are lined up with only the barest of clothing, just enough so they aren’t naked. All are lined up and the race is about to begin.
Just then, we see another man approaching the line. He has on a suit, overcoat, hip boots and knitted hat. In his hands he has a lunch bucket, umbrella and his pockets are filled with various medicines.
Nobody can believe their eyes. Surely he can’t think of winning?
Somebody finally goes over and asks if he is really running the race.
“Of course,” he replied, “What’s wrong with these things. The race is long and treacherous, I might need some of these things along the way.”
Paul tells Christians to “put off every weight”. this demands self-discipline or self-control.
Only then do we have a chance of winning.
Why is Jesus’ yoke light?
This may be compared with the common practice of old farmers to build yokes that were unbalanced.
There was both a heavy and a light end. The heavy end was always matched to a strong bull while the lighter end was for a smaller bullock in training.
This enabled the younger bullock to work without having to bear too much of the burden.