September 8, 2017
Psalms 81:6 “I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket.
Have you ever seen a carabao? No, I didn’t misspell caribou. The carabao is a domesticated sub-species of the water buffalo, and is the oxen of the Philippines. The first time I traveled to that country I saw the way Filipino men cherished there carabao. I was told by my good friend Victorino that a farmer would protect his carabao before he protected his wife. You see, the carabao was his means of productivity and income. He used it to plow, plant, and harvest, and then carry the load of the harvest to market. Vic said to me something that broke my heart. He said, “The farmer’s wife can be replaced, but not his carabao.”
One day when we were traveling through the countryside, I saw a man riding in a wagon being pulled by his carabao. Another man sat in the back with the materials that were being hauled. The man sitting in the back had a huge basket filled with wood strapped to his back and shoulders. He had been walking and had been offered a ride by the man in the wagon. But when he got in the wagon, he refused to release the basket from his back and set it down in the wagon. Even though he got to rest from his walking, he was still straining under the weight of the wood on his shoulders.
How foolish, I thought, to be offered total relief from a burden and not fully accept it. The wagon and the carabao were already bearing the full weight of the man and the basket of wood, but for some reason he had decided he still needed to carry his share of the load.
Then I got the point God wanted me to understand – I behave the same way with Him. I remembered the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28 where He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
I imagined carrying a huge load for a long distance and being weary from the walk and the weight. Then I saw Jesus standing with His arms extended inviting me to come to Him and let Him carry me. I surrender to His powerful right arm that lifts me up and holds me tight. But as His left arm reaches to take the burden off of my back and carry it for me, I refuse, and cling to it, afraid to trust anyone else with the cargo.
It’s not that I doubt His strength, but I am concerned about losing control. It was mine. I worked hard to create this load, and I would see it through to my predetermined destination and conclusion. When we finally arrive at the destination and Jesus puts me down, I wonder why I am still so tired.
What a fool I have been, to not fully release my burdens to the one who will carry them completely. Jesus wants to remove the burden from our shoulders and release our hands from the basket. He will carry the cargo of our cares and He will control the outcome.
Once again today I hear Him calling for me to come and rest in Him, and let go of the basket.
Maybe you can hear Him too.