Being a Christian is simple and easy.
I feel very sad when I hear a fellow Christian saying that serving God is burdensome or complicated. God never meant it to be burdensome or complicated and it shouldn’t be.
What God wants is simple. He wants his human children to be happy in the love relationship with him that we were made for and that he has always wanted us to have. God has already done everything that needs to be done to make this possible. He certainly doesn’t want to make it complicated for us.
We are called to be God’s servants and the role of a servant is not difficult. A servant’s job is just to be obedient. All the servant has to do is obey the orders. It is not a servant’s job to make plans or set goals – the servant’s master or mistress does that. To take another example, soldiers taking part in a great campaign don’t plan the grand strategy. They don’t even know what the grand strategy is. They don’t need to know it. The soldiers’ job is to obey orders.
So… What are God’s orders?
Jesus said that all the law and the prophets could be summed up in two commands:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and “Love your neighbour the same way that you love yourself.” (Mark 12:30)
One of the best things about these two simple rules is that they are positive. They start with the word “Love…”, which is a whole lot better than “Thou shalt not…”.
Jesus criticised the church leaders of his day for making life complicated for people who want to serve God (Luke 11:46). We need to be very sure that we do not do the same thing.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
God is a good parent – he loves his children.
In the Old Testament we have this example of how God feels about us:
“He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. He gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11 NIV)
God is the good shepherd – he takes care of his lambs. There is no reason for us to get stressed, downhearted, perplexed or worried about our walk with God. If we do feel worried then all we need to do is to tell God about it and trust him to sort it out. Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)
He then went on to say:
“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. 11:29-30 NIV)
Yokes are pieces of wood that a person would place across their shoulders enabling them to carry heavy loads evenly balanced. (Not so very long ago, my mother-in-law used one to carry two heavy buckets of water when there was a drought.) Jesus tells us that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. When we learn to trust him we find that he speaks the simple truth.