Good Morning! I have been called to the Canada Edmonton Mission. I leave on July 30 to the Provo MTC, and I could not be more excited! Bishop asked me to speak on Matt. 11:28-30 which says, “Come unto me,all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” I am going to break up this scripture and talk about each part.
The first part of the verse says Come unto me, This is written in first person so Jesus is inviting us to come to him. What better phrase to start out this scripture then a personal invitation to join our Savior.
In the song the youth sang last week it says, “Come unto Christ, come unto Him, and by His grace be made holy again. He’s calling your name, He’s waiting for you, with arms open wide. Come unto Christ.” My favorite part of that song is “He’s waiting for you, with arms open wide.” He is patiently waiting for us to come unto him. He wants us to come unto Him so badly.
But who is he inviting to come unto him? All ye that labour and are heavy laden. Note his use of the word ALL. All of us are invited to come unto him. Not just Bob or Sue, but all of us.
Christ then goes on and expands on the word all, he says all ye that labour and are heavy laden. Gerald N. Lund said that, “Life is Labor”. I totally agree with him. Life is hard. Elder Lund shared a story about an experience a friend shared with him. His friend said, “When I was a new bishop, I used to sit on the stand in sacrament meeting and look out over my congregation. I would notice a new family sitting near the back and think to myself, ‘Oh, that must be the Jones family who just moved in by the Browns. I wonder what we could call them to do.’ But after I had been a bishop for a year or so I would sit on the stand and look out and see a new family, and say to myself, ‘Oh, a new family. I wonder what problems they have?’
This Bishop was right we all have problems, we all labour and are heavy laden. Gerald N. Lund continued, “All of us have different problems like some kind of health crisis, depression or anxiety, mental health challenges, a crumbling marriage, family members struggling with addiction, loss of employment and the resulting financial crisis. The list of possibilities is virtually endless.” We all labour and are heavy laden.
Elder Bednar shared a story in the last conference about all of our individual loads that we carry. This story was about his friend who after much coaxing finally convinced his wife that they needed to buy a four-wheel-drive pickup truck. He says, “Shortly after taking possession of the new vehicle, my friend wanted to demonstrate the utility of the truck and validate his reasons for wanting to purchase it. So he decided he would cut and haul a supply of firewood for their home. It was in the autumn of the year, and snow already had fallen in the mountains where he intended to find wood. As he drove up the mountainside, the snow gradually became deeper and deeper. My friend recognized the slick road conditions presented a risk, but with great confidence in the new truck, he kept going. Sadly, my friend went too far along the snowy road. As he steered the truck off the road at the place he had determined to cut wood, he got stuck. All four of the wheels on the new truck spun in the snow. He readily recognized that he did not know what to do to extricate himself from this dangerous situation. He was embarrassed and worried. My friend decided, ‘Well, I will not just sit here.’ He climbed out of the vehicle and started cutting wood. He completely filled the back of the truck with the heavy load. And then my friend determined he would try driving out of the snow one more time. As he put the pickup into gear and applied power, he started to inch forward. Slowly the truck moved out of the snow and back onto the road. He finally was free to go home, a happy and humbled man…. It was the wood that provided the traction necessary for him to get out of the snow, to get back on the road, to move forward. It was the load that enabled him to return to his family and his home. Each of us also carries a load. Our individual load is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations, and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints.” I just love that story! We all need to ask ourselves if the loads we are carrying enabling us to get the traction we need in life to return to our Heavenly Father? We are all carrying loads and burdens of some sort so we need to follow what our Savior said and Come unto Him.
The next thing Jesus says is a promise and I will give you rest. I will talk more about this a little later.
Next Jesus tell us to, Take my yoke upon you.
So I looked the word Yoke up and this is what I found. A yoke is a bar or frame that is attached to the heads or necks of two work animals such as oxen so they can pull a heavy load. A yoke needs to be fit to the animal that is using it, there isn’t just a one size fits all yoke. Every yoke is very unique, just like all of our heavy loads, they are very specific and unique to each of us. Our Savior wants us to take His yoke upon us but he doesn’t just give us the one size fits all yoke because there is no such thing he gives us a personalized yoke to fit our needs. He knows each of us so well that he knows exactly what we need. Gerald N. Lund says that “He knows me intimately. He loves me infinitely. Therefore, the help that He offers me will be perfectly fitted to my needs, my abilities, and my circumstances.”
But a yoke is made for two animals. So if we take his yoke upon us he is standing right next to us. We are yoked to Him. Elder Holland said that “we must be firmly attached to Him”. And David A. Bednar said, “The Savior is beckoning us to rely upon and pull together with Him, even though our best efforts are not equal to and cannot be compared with His.”
In Mosiah 24:14 it says “And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs” Our burdens are not taken away, they don’t just disappear. They are still there, we just cannot feel them. Jesus Christ will and can ease our burdens. If we take his yoke upon us.
Another example of how burdens are eased is in Mosiah 24:15, “And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his bretheren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” Jesus Christ eases our burdens by strengthing us. Everyone always tells us that our trials make us stronger and they really do. We are made stronger by the Savior so we can bear up our burdens with ease. Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “The Healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ-whether it removes our burdens or strengthens us to endure and live with them…-is available for every affliction in mortality.”
Elder Bednar said, “It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to the earth to die for us. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to enliven us-not only to guide but also to strengthen and heal us”. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we are strengthened to bear up our burdens with ease. Only if we take his yoke upon us.
Elder Lund shared something that I loved he said, “In the Scriptures, pride is often related to stiffnecked. Think about that. If we are stiffnecked, we refuse to bow our heads, as we do in prayer, which is a sign of submission. And where does the yoke fit….on the neck. To receive a yoke animals have to bow their necks so the yoke can be fitted over their heads”. I thought that was so interesting. If we do not bow our heads in submission to our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ cannot fit the yoke upon us and he cannot help us bear our burdens.
Elder Eyring said, “Through the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ, our natures can be changed, then our power to carry burdens can be increased more than enough.”
After he tells us to take his yoke upon us he says and learn of me.
First he tells us to Come, then Take, then Learn. Before we can learn about him we need to come unto him, and take his yoke upon us.
The next part of the scripture is For I am meek and lowly in heart. Sometimes the word for can be swapped out for the word because. If we changed those words in this scripture it would say, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; because I am meek and lowly in heart.” But why do we need to know this? I think that because he is meek and lowly in heart he could perform the Atonement for us. If he wasn’t meek and lowly in heart there would have been no Atonement. He can lift our burdens because of the Atonement. Dallin H. Oaks said, “His atonement reaches and is powerful enough not only to pay the price for sin but also to heal every mortal affliction….He knows our anguish, and He is there for us. Like the good Samaritan in His parable, when He finds us wounded at the wayside, He binds up our wounds and cares for us….The healing power of His atonement is for you, for us, for all.”
That is why he says in this scripture for I am meek and lowly in heart. We all need to learn of our Savior and how he was meek and lowly in heart so we can try to be like him. Elder Ulisses Soares said, “The Apostle Paul taught that meekness is a fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, it can most easily be attained if we live in the Spirit. And to live in the Spirit, our lifestyle must reflect righteousness before the Lord. As we take Christ’s name upon us, it is expected that we strive to emulate His attributes and change our character to become more like Him each day.” We can’t just change in one day and be exactly like our Savior it will take our whole life to improve and progress towards Him. President Lorenzo Snow said, “It is our duty to try to be perfect, to improve each day, and look upon our course last week and do things better this week; do things better today than we did them yesterday”. I had a seminary teacher that would tell us every day as we were leaving class. BTTY. Which stood for Better today, than Yesterday. If we want to become like our Savior we need to improve each and every day. Not by a lot but by being better today, than we were yesterday.
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: And ye shall find rest unto your souls." He comes back to this promise. It is interesting that he tells us twice that he will give us rest. He wants us to know that there is a blessing that comes from following Him. But we won’t just find rest in our body or mind, but in our soul. That is such a great promise, if we come unto him, take his yoke upon us, and learn of him and what he has done for us. He will give us rest in our souls. Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “Commune with the Lord….He is your best friend! He knows your pain because He has felt it for you already. He is ready to carry that burden. Tryst Him enough to place it at His feet and allow Him to carry it for you. Then you can have your anguish replaces with His peace, the very depths of your soul.”
Once I found out my topic I emailed my cousin who is on a mission in Argentina to see what she thought about it and this is what she said, “I read Matthew and I love your topic! I have been able to apply it so many times in my mission. This week I have seen it with my own eyes. My friend Oscar has applied the Atonement of Christ in his life and has received rest in the Lord and his burdens were made light and he Changed! He was baptized and given the priesthood! He is beaming with the spirit and it’s all through Jesus Christ! Through His atonement we can grow! We can do all things! We can live with God again and we can be saved! You can see the way the atonement saves those in despair and in need of rest and when they find it, you can feel happiness that you will not believe!” I have loved reading her emails every week because I have seen the atonement in the lives of everyone she teaches!
The last verse says For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Jesus promises us that if we come unto him, take his yoke upon us, and learn of him our burdens will be made light.
Now, I am going to tell a story about Shrek. Not the Ogre but the sheep. Shrek became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves in New Zealand for 6 years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone to shave it. When he was finally found and shaved his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds. Most sheep have fleece weighing just under ten pounds. For six years Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece, simply because he was away from his shepherd. In John chapter 10 Jesus compared Himself to a shepherd, and His followers are His sheep. Shrek can be compared to a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered, even for a short time. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to accumulate extra weight. When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer came to take care of Shrek’s fleece, it was removed in only twenty-eight minutes. The sixty pound fleece Shrek carried around for six years was finally removed because he came home to his shepherd. Shrek followed the first step in this scripture, Come unto me. And after Shrek came back to His shepherd, His shepherd lifted his burdens.
I think sometimes we are all like Shrek and we wander from the path. We know our shepherd but we will not come back to Him. Finally when we do come back to our Shepherd and let him help us, we are relieved of our heavy load that we have carried around for longer than necessary. All we need to do is Come Unto Our Savior.
I have such a strong testimony of this concept. Our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ are standing arms open wide for us to come unto their fold. They will wait for us as long as we need them to. They will always be there waiting for us. They love us so much and cannot wait to help us. I know that someone in Canada needs to hear what I have to say and I am so excited to be able to bring others unto Christ so they can be strengthened and have their burdens eased. I know the Gospel provides us with so much happiness that we can only receive if we come unto Christ.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart. And ye shall find rest upon your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
I know that the things this scripture promises can come to us if we follow the steps to achieve them.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.