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  • Writer's pictureJill Ball

Gentle, not arrogant

We all hate arrogance. It just jars.

Gentleness is not often publicly rated, but after a moment's reflection we realise that we all love people who are not harsh and critical, but are gentle and kind.

Rest for Our Souls

Life can be hard. We all have burdens to carry and sometimes the weight of all the things or people we are carrying gets too much. We are only human.

Jesus says,

Come to me…

and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart,

and you will find rest for your souls.

The rest for our souls that Jesus gives includes work - but work alongside him. He is a gentle teacher. Oxen are yoked together, side by side, pulling a plough. In the same way horses pulling a carriage are yoked.

(Jesus isn’t talking about the yoke of an egg as my teenage children thought.)

About forty years ago I heard a sermon that has stuck with me.

It was about this passage and keeping in step with the Spirit.

If we dawdle then we will be dragged along and go round in circles. If we rush on, not pacing ourselves to walk in step with Jesus, we will also go round in circles, just in the opposite direction.

To move forward we need to keep in step with Jesus Christ, learning from him.

He is not too arrogant to explain any little thing. He is not too proud to help us in our weakness. He is humble.

This is not a quality that is priced or understood much in the world. We hate arrogance, as does God, but we don’t always recognise the opposite quality of humility or lowliness of heart.

The Pharisees laid heavy burdens of intricate and pernickety laws, without raising a finger to help. Jesus gives us a light burden, and then shoulders much of the weight.

If you are feeling heavy-burdened, it is worth asking yourself if you are carrying burdens you don’t need to.

Jesus said, ‘For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’

Jesus, Meek and Mild

Is this the Jesus of the Sunday School songs?

Jesus, meek and mild,

Look upon this little child

Or is there something more steely, tougher about his gentleness.

Or is it that Jesus is gentle to the weary, the burdened, the downtrodden, but tough on those who put burdens on others, who oppress their workers and show no mercy or justice for the poor.

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children.
Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.”
Matt 11v25/28-30

from The Messiah - Handel

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