Give Thanks

By Jacob Cohen

Thanksgiving is here once again: the table is set, the turkey is cooked, and everyone is gathered around the table.  The time for the blessing has come.  You stand, look at the family, and can almost read their minds.  Can we really give thanks?  Do we really have to act joyful? When will this be over?   No one at the table seems to wants to give thanks to God, including the speaker.

Thoughts begin to run through your mind: the deaths, the let downs, the disappointments.  Some things are gone forever, but not necessarily for the better.  The one word that clearly stands out is ‘hypocrite.’

We have been taught to leave our burdens on the altar – to lay them there at the feet of Jesus.  Many of us have repeatedly and sincerely made our way to the front of the church, to the altar of God, and asked Jesus to take these things from our hearts; only to find, that this saying to be too true, “Jesus excepts me just as I am.”  However, it tears me up inside, when I find myself leaving just as I came.

But is the teaching of leaving your burdens at Jesus’ feet a biblical teaching?  What does the Bible say?  I would not have you ignorant.  Matthew 11:28-30 says,

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.”

The Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary tells us that a yoke is “a part of the gear or tackle of draft animals, particularly oxen, passing across their necks and so that two are connected for drawing.”  So you see, the picture of the passage is one of codependence and labor.  Jesus calls those who are laboring through life to take his yoke and share also in his burden.  Once the burden of Messiah becomes your own, not only do your burdens become so insignificant that they just seem to fall away, but also, through the strength of his labor, they vanish away.

So, as you can see, a believer cannot come to the cross, laying their burdens at the feet of Jesus, and then simply walk away from the cross.  Instead the call is to pick up your cross and follow him.  Happy Thanksgiving!                                      

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