Yokes and Yokefellows


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Elton Trueblood, a Quaker author of several books, lecturing at Southwestern University told us about yokes:

  • First, the yoke is tailored to the shoulders of a particular oxen. If the yoke is well tailored, the ox will work all day, pulling plows, turning a thresher, and whatever else it is set to without sores or pain. But if the yoke is not carefully tailored to the oxen, the ox will develop sores so that no yoke can be worn for days, and it cannot work. When an ox dies, the yoke is worthless unless it is reshaped.
  • Second, the yoke is almost always tailored to two particular oxen. The yoke pairs oxen for effective teamwork.
  • Third, carpenters tailored yokes. They carefully carved and shaped with hand tools until they were satisfied a yoke fit so perfectly that it enabled a pair of oxen to work effectively. This is a skill Jesus as a carpenter apprentice would have learned.

So when Jesus said, "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens … for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light," I think his eyes sparkled with the memory of pairs of oxen leaving his dad’s carpentry shop comfortably ready to work together. Now he works to pair us with others so we work together efficiently and effectively. We need this yoking in marriage, parenting, congregations, and working and playing as a team member where the situation encourages and develops teamwork.


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Copyright © 2002 John F. Yeaman