Monday, December 19, 2011

His yoke is easy and His burden is light

Here is an old Jewish tale that illustrates Jesus’ Hebraic teaching that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 

“The true purpose of religious limitations [laws/commandments] on worldliness is only to release the soul for its free flight into the spiritual realms of holy joy.  Adam and Eve’s mistake was in failing to realize that by obeying G-d’s command, by restricting their physical pleasure and avoiding eating from just one tree among the many permissible, they would open themselves up to more intense and fulfilling spiritual pleasure and would enjoy the eternal bliss and delight of the Garden of Eden.”  

Rabbi Yaakov Kranz, the Maggid of Dubnow, the most famous Jewish preacher of the eighteenth century, told the following parable. 

A jewelry merchant and a tool seller, traveling separately on business, checked into the same hotel in a certain town at the same time.  The jewelry merchant had with him his small suitcase, containing his diamonds, pearls, and other jewels; the other merchant had a big, heavy trunk containing hammers, saws and all kinds of work tools. 

The jewelry merchant asked a porter to take his suitcase up to his room.  The porter came down soon afterward and presented himself for a tip, and the merchant gave him something.  But instead of leaving, the porter coughed and shrugged and made it clear that he was not satisfied with the tip.  He mumbled that the suitcase was “so heavy” and so difficult to “drag up the stairs.” 

The surprised merchant said to him, “If you’re talking about a heavy suitcase and how hard it was to drag up the stairs, you’ve made a mistake! That was not my suitcase! My suitcase is very light! You took the wrong suitcase!” [JToMJ by Buxbaum pg 14-15]

Jesus teaches a similar principle that following Him is not burdensome but joyful.  He doesn’t teach that the laws & commandments are done away with because they are for our benefit (Matthew 5:17-20).  If we find the rules and regulations of following Jesus “burdensome” then we are carrying the wrong suitcase!  When truly entering into the order and structure of His Kingdom, we have the ability to experience “more intense and fulfilling spiritual pleasure” as the joy of the L-rd becomes our strength.      

1 comment:

  1. So true, yet hard to grasp and not let go. A good reminder- thanks.