Poblano Pepper Pork
January 12, 2021
“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” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).
Yesterday was unusual for me in a good way. It was Saturday, a day I usually catch up with charts, or complete work for board meetings, or visit friends who need companionship. But yesterday, after my morning run, I spent the entire day at home with my wife. She wore me out digging up bush stumps in the backyard. And then we decided to cook together. I found a recipe for Poblano pepper pork chops, and she found a recipe for a mushroom antipasto. I asked her to show me how to do it right. We shopped together, prepared and cooked, and then we eventually invited her older sister to join us for the experimental meal. When I lay down to sleep last night, my body was tired. I had worked hard that day, but my spirit was rested and refreshed.
Few outside our profession can understand the weariness, burden, time pressure and lasting emotional drain of our healthcare calling. I’m usually quite beat when I come home from a week of work.
It didn’t make earthly sense that digging up stumps in 95-degree weather, or running back and forth to the sink so that my dishes didn’t pile up (with my spouse telling me to “do it the right way”), would have helped lift a week of healthcare burdens from my shoulders. But it did.
When I committed the time to my wife and gave her authority over the stumps and authority over the food I prepared, I committed to hard work, but that work was grounded in a relationship of love with my wife and was blessed by her presence. I took on her yoke of work, in place of my yoke of healthcare decision-making. My body, mind and spirit ended the day refreshed in spite of the hard labor.
Similarly, it’s hard to envision how an authentic Christian life dedicated to sacrificial service might lighten the burdens we carry. But it does. When I hear the words, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened…,” when I hear these words and choose to follow, I do not follow into a spiritual and physical Nirvana where peace comes from the absence of striving. When I follow my Lord, I help carry His cross, a work that has sometimes been painful and heavy. And yet, the very act of carrying that cross brings me side by side the One I love; and I do “find rest for my soul” with Him. It is the strange paradox of pouring out my own energy and expectations while filling up with His energy and expectations, receiving more peace and joy from His infilling than I had before I started pouring—sort of like the energy and rest I received from digging up stumps and cooking pork chops this Saturday with my wife.
Let me wear Your yoke well.