I remember what a circus it was when my parents would take us shopping for shoes. I trust that they are going to heaven for that experience alone.  As you might imagine, shoe shopping with the Maloneys was not a very organized affair.  Of course, whether or not it was us shopping for shoes or anyone else, the key to shoe shopping is making sure that at the end of the day, the customer(s) are able to acquire shoes that fit (perhaps in more ways than one!).  However, another element that is integral to successful shoe shopping (at least it was for our clan) was who determined whether or not a particular shoe did in fact, fit. I remember often debating my mother about whether or not a shoe fit me and thinking it was not quite right that she would be contesting my thoughts on that matter at all.  Inevitably, I would tell her that a certain pair fit me and she would tell me that means they must be too big. Then she would practically force another pair of shoes on my feet and I would say that they hurt me.  One time she finally responded to my complaints in a way that she must have wanted to do many times before. She said, “Well, new shoes are supposed to hurt.” Now that did not seem to make any sense to me; not at first any way.  But then she explained that new shoes have to be broken in and that after a day or so, they should feel much more comfortable.  On the other hand, she knew from experience that a shoe that her children described to her as comfortable in the store, would probably be proven to be too big after the “breaking in” period.  In the time of Jesus, people would know the “yoke” as a harness that was put around the shoulders of oxen so that they could pull the “burdens” or loads that their masters needed them to pull. The yokes had to be custom made for each oxen, they could not be too tight or too loose, they had to “fit” or the job simply would not get done.  Jesus is trying to tell us today that the burdens, the crosses, the challenges, that He gives us are ones that He has specially fitted for us because they will give us the best opportunity for us to grow closer to Him. This means a couple of things.  It means that we need to allow Him to determine which burden fits us, just like the Maloney children needed to allow their Mom to determine which were the best fitting shoes. It also means that we need to remember that our burdens need to be broken in.  They probably are not going to feel very comfortable right away. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we should not be bearing any burdens that were not given to us by Jesus, although we do try to do this all the time.  Other people’s burdens are not our burdens.  Jesus tells us to come to Him to because His yoke is easy. It’s the one that fits.



AuthorCathy Remick