Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
By Lois Parker Edstrom
A picture of tandem skydivers
A coloring picture of oxen in yoke
A picture of animals yoked together
Have you ever seen someone who is attached to a parachute float down to the ground? That sort of happening catches our attention, partly because it seems peaceful, but also exciting.
Although many people use parachutes to assist them with their work, such as firefighters who sometimes need parachutes when they fight forest fires, other people like to parachute just for fun. It is an exciting, yet dangerous sport called skydiving.
Can you imagine what it must feel like to jump out of an airplane for the first time, eventually open the parachute and then drift to the ground?
People who want to learn to skydive must work with an instructor. After much instruction and many conversations about safety, the student prepares to make the first jump. The instructor straps the student to himself and the two jump from the airplane together. (Show picture.) By being close to the teacher the student learns exactly what to do to make a successful landing.
Jesus talked about being close to a teacher when he said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me….” (11:29).
A yoke is like a harness that is put over the shoulders of animals so they can work together to pull a heavy load. (Show picture.)
Jesus, as a teacher, offers this kind of closeness to each one of us. Just as a student, learning to parachute for the first time, needs a lot of instruction, we learn how to live good lives by studying the Bible and praying. And, just as a beginning skydiver needs to be very close to the instructor on that first jump, we are reminded to stay close to God, working together and gaining strength from God who loves us.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2008, Richard Niell Donovan