First things first: It was Bailey’s 12th birthday yesterday! Which means that I was up until 10:30 the night before making tiny elephants out of pink and gray icing to put on the cupcakes that she made for her class. I thought they looked a bit pitiful, but she thought they were cute so we’ll go with that. Our kids are all growing up so fast lately, and Chris and I are enjoying watching them become adults. We will only have one more year with Micah after this one, and I’m already counting on spending much of that year trying not to cry.
Back in the here and now, I’m slowly working my way through the almost-final draft of the Gospel of Matthew in Pal, comparing the translation verse by verse to the English Bible to make sure we haven’t missed (or added) anything, and then translating the translation back into English so that our translation consultant can also go through it verse by verse and correct anything that needs to be corrected. We are getting closer to being able to print the whole book and give it to the Pal believers, and we are excited for them to soon have a book that is so chock full of the teachings of Jesus.
I recently worked through one of those teachings in the translation–Mathew 11:30. It’s the one where he says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Now, the idiom about the yoke is one that we can’t just translate into Pal. For one thing, nobody knows what a yoke is; there is no Pal word for yoke. And if we called it a “stick” or “piece of wood,” there would be a lot of confusion about why Jesus is carrying around a piece of wood, and why we should care that it’s easy… We would have to say something like “a yoke is a piece of wood that people use to connect two cows (what are those?) by the neck so that they will work together to pull a plow (a what?) or a wagon (come again?), which is also connected to the yoke.” At this point, everyone would be so distracted by all this new information (some of which would require further explanation) that the point of Jesus’ speech would be completely lost. So when we translate it into Pal, Matthew 11:30 looks like this: “It’s like this,” he said. “To follow me is not difficult,” he said. “The work I will give you is light,” he said. “So come to me,” he said. Jisas said that to women men. No yokes are mentioned, but the meaning is the same.
I have been thinking about this invitation of Jesus’ since yesterday and trying to avail myself of it. Lately I have been feeling like my burden is getting heavier and my yoke is starting to chafe. I feel the weight of the work that we, as a mission, have undertaken here. It’s some heavy work. It tempts me to feel overwhelmed sometimes. But then I remember that of course it’s heavy. It’s God’s work! I was never meant to “handle” things this big. So I repeatedly go to Jesus and offer a trade: He gets the heavy stuff, and I get the easy yoke and the light burden. It’s easy because I only have to follow along behind Him. And it’s light because I am not required to accomplish the mission or fix the relationship or solve the problem–I’m only required to obey and leave the rest to Him. Jesus is the cornerstone for a reason: He’s the only one who can take the weight.
God’s power is made perfect in weakness. If I’m trying to carry all the heavy stuff myself, I’m diminishing His power in me. So I say let Him have it! I’m happy to put the problem in His hands and then just keep following along behind, being faithful. It really is the only way to live.
Before we go, we want to share with you who donated towards our vehicle fund last year that our vehicle has been a blessing beyond even what we would have thought. It has made it possible for me to take care of things when Chris is away on trips, and it has even made me teaching at the school and Chris coaching boys’ basketball possible. We continually thank God for providing it for us, and we want to thank you again, too!