Beasts of Burden

Notice the facial expression on my son’s face. Priceless!

One of my favorite summer-ending activities is going to the KY State Fair.  We have gone every August for the past five years.  We loving walking the exhibits showing cows, goats, chickens, and rabbits.  Our boys love every minute of it.  It is the closest they get to farm animals all year.

Jennifer loves looking at the flowers and vegetable displays.  I get my native Hancock Co. FFA-on, which is the complete opposite of who I really am, but it does take me back to stripping tobacco and picking peppers in the pepper patch.

Some animals are raised for their milk.  Others are raised for their meat.  Still others are raised for their eggs.  But an animal that is not raised for any of these things are mules and donkeys.  They are raised for carrying burdens.  Their bodies are designed to pull, tow, carry, and shoulder weight.   Even with all the fancy, high-tech machinery and tractors we have these day, a few farmers are still use donkeys to bear the burdens of the fields back to the barn.  And if you go overseas, you see them used for everything.

Which makes an interesting comparison.  Galatians 6:2 says  “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”   We are called to bear one another’s burdens.  We are called as brothers and sisters in Christ, part of God’s family, to help share the load of our friends and neighbors.  To take something off another’s shoulders and carry it a while on our own.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  We can lay any burden upon Jesus our Lord, but sometimes we additionally need to lean on those God has yoked us together with here on Earth–our peeps.

For the past several months I have been carrying a particular burden; a pretty heavy load upon my back.  I have been like a donkey saddled with surplus weight.  I have been shouldering a sense of failure and regret.  I would try to let it go, but ultimately something would cause me to pick it right back up again.  I’d think about it, dream about it, and in the quiet moments of my heart, fret anxiously about it.

But last night during a casual dinner conversation that burden was lifted.  Not because I tossed it to someone else to carry, but because of a kind word spoken through a gentle expression by a trusted brother in Christ.  In that moment, the burden disappeared entirely.  He probably didn’t even know he was helping me.  Yet he did.

And today my yoke is easier.  My spirit is freer.  My load is lighter.  I guess I am not a donkey anymore…at least for today.

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