Come unto me, all ye that labor 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. (Matthew 11:28-30, NT)
These verses keep coming back to me after two weeks; every few days I turn them over in my mind. They played an important role in one my first experiences with full-time missionary work in the MTC call center. I remember talking to Sammy on the phone, sharing these verses with her, and then calling her almost every week until I left the MTC.
Two weeks ago I recognized a new facet to “learn of me,” replacing “of” with “from.” I began to recognize that learning from Christ can change how I carry my burdens. If I can become meek and lowly in heart like He is, my yoke can become easy and my burden light. I love the multiple meanings in this phrase that reveal the many ways in which Jesus Christ helps us. I have experienced Him carrying my burden for a time, and then again I have felt Him strengthen me to carry my own burdens. Over time I see how developing His characteristics has changed me to carry my burdens differently. Now I feel like I take things in stride, I have a better sense of humor, and I roll with the punches a little better than ten years ago.
To be meek––to recognize that I can’t solve every problem, that I am not strong enough by myself, that I don’t know everything––allows me to tap into the Savior’s limitless strength and wisdom. Attitude counts for so much when carrying one’s burdens. I think that dropping my “woe is me” attitude from years ago to be a little more light hearted and to take myself less seriously has made my yoke lighter, helping me “submit cheerfully and with patience” to any burden (Mosiah 24:15, BoM).
I really love Handel’s pairing of Isaiah 40:11 (OT) and Matthew 11:28-29 in the Messiah duet, He shall feed His flock/Come unto Him. Whatever our stage in life, the Savior can help us find rest to our souls.
I hope you enjoy this (non-copyrighted) rendition of He shall feed his flock from Handel’s Messiah. I sang it last week and wanted to share it with you.
There is so much to admire in Alma the elder who risked his life to try and save Abinadi, then defied King Noah to teach the Gospel, and eventually become a prophet in turn. Mosiah 23-24 present a neat parallel to Mosiah 21-22. These chapters compare how Alma’s people deal with the same challenges as Limhi’s people, both groups having become client kingdoms in servitude to the Lamanites. Where Limhi’s people feared the Lamanites and tried to fight their way out of bondage, Alma’s people replaced their fear of man with trust in the Lord, prayers for help, and patience in His plan.
Nine and a half years ago my mission companions and I created a lesson based on Mosiah 24:13-16. The message really touched our friend (for whom we originally planned the lesson): she identified with Alma’s people in bondage (she was in advanced schooling at the time and studying for a difficult exam), and felt strengthened by their example of faith in God, the promise of eventual deliverance, and the help God provided in the midst of their trial while waiting for the right timing.
What I really want to share, though, is that as our week progressed, we taught this lesson no less than four other times in different appointments. It seemed everyone we met with needed this message that week! I have seen this happen in other settings where multiple people I know are going through the same or similar difficulties at the same time. But I also want to highlight the universality of the challenges explored in Mosiah 21-24. So much of mortality is a fight against bondage. Our spirits are in bondage to sin, our mortal bodies are predisposed to doing things that create additional scenarios of bondage/limitation of freedom. My takeaway from Mosiah 21-24 is that I can either rely on my own strength to free myself (like Limhi’s people), or I can ask God for help and trust in His mercy and timing (like Alma’s people). Both groups were eventually freed but Alma’s group shines in their faith, patience, attitude, and the comparative ease with which they succeeded––all because they trusted in God and waited for Him to work His miracles.