A father took his 2-year-old son on a hiking trip to the Appalachian Trail. They pulled in to the trailhead and the father got a brand new backpack out of the car, as the son looked on with glee.
"Ok, son, this is going to be a long, hard walk, but I know this trail well. Stay close to me and listen to my instructions and we'll get to the top of the mountain safely."
Before the father could finish his pep-talk, the little boy grabbed the backpack, stuffed in a few of his favorite toys, and ran to the trailhead, looking back at his father with a huge smile on his face.
The father smiled back with joy over his son's eagerness to walk with him. So they began the trek. As they went, the son would stop to look at all the beautiful leaves and rocks, stuffing the backpack full. The terrain began to get rough, and the son continued to struggle.
"You okay, son?" the father asked.
"Uh...yeah?" the son said sheepishly. Then he sat down and began to cry.
"Oh, my dear son. Let's empty this backpack of all this worthless stuff. This isn't why I gave it to you--to fill it with everything in the world. I gave it to you so you will know that I can carry you. I love you and I want you to enjoy this trip." The father said this tenderly as his son looked up at him with teary eyes and reached up to his wise, able Father.
The rest of the trip, the son sat in the backpack with his arms wrapped around his father's neck. They both felt so much joy as they walked and talked together--and the view at the top was truly magnificent.
The Lord, our Heavenly Father, is looking to support a dependent people. The little boy, while eager to walk with the father and excited for the journey, did not understand the nature of the relationship nor the dangers ahead. Too often, Christians trust in Jesus Christ for salvation yet forget the implications of eternal life given in the present time. We need to remain teachable, recognizing our need of Him every moment of every day.
Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. ... Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:25, 28-30).
The wise and intelligent think they know how to live life, to "carry their own weight," so to speak. Jesus is not telling us to take His yoke upon us and figure things out. No. Our burden is our very life. He is simply offering to carry us.
Are you among the "wise and intelligent," as Jesus said, or are you okay with being dependent on the Lord?
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Associate Pastor for Centre Union Church in Yeagertown, PA.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!