In this last General Conference, Elder Bednar arguably gave one his best talks ever entitled, “Bear up their burdens with ease.” He’s given a lot of incredible talks, but this one in particular really touched my heart.
He begins by sharing a story of a man who wants to purchase a brand new, 4×4 pick up truck. After discussing the purchase with his wife, and joking about how they can’t really afford it, the wife approves and the man purchases the vehicles. One day, the man drives up into the woods to chop some fire wood. As he climbs deeper and deeper into the woods, he finds that the snow becomes thicker and thicker, until he can’t go any farther. He tries his best to free himself, but soon owns up to the reality that he’s stuck. Rather than wasting me time, he decides to get to work chopping wood, and begins filling up the bed of the truck. After hours of chopping wood, the bed is full, and he finds that he can easily get out of the snow. The added weight of the wood gave him the traction that he needed to free himself from the snow.
“It was the load. It was the load of wood that provided the traction necessary for him to get out of the snow, to get back on the road, and to move forward. It was the load that enabled him to return to his family and his home.” Each of us in our individual lives carries a load, whether it’s sickness, sin, work stresses, providing for our families, or whatever else it might be. The burdens that we carry give us the spiritual “traction” that we need to continue forward and carry us through tough situations.
Now, I’d like to switch gears a little bit and redirect our thoughts to Matthew. Matthew 11, verses 28-30. I believe it’s a passage of scripture that we’re all rather familiar with:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Let’s look at the very last verse. Here is Christ speaking. “For my yoke is easy…” What exactly is a “yoke”, you ask? A yoke is usually made from wood, and is placed over the head of two animals, generally cattle, which allows them to pull a plow (or whatever it might be) in sync with another animal. They share an equal load and help one another to accomplish a task. Here, Christ is telling us that he’s sharing the yoke with us. We’re not alone. He’s there for us, and we’re in it together. But more than that, he’s telling us that his yoke is “easy.” You, plus the Lord, in any situation, can get through anything.
“…and my burden is light.” All too often, I think we interpret the word “light” in this scripture to refer to a weight, and not a very heavy one at that. But what if we interpret the word “light” in a different way? What if the Lord is saying that his “burden” is referring to spiritual light instead? Referring back to Elder Bednar’s talk, the burdens that we carry on our individual shoulders are what provide us with the spiritual traction and the light of revelation that we need to guide us through the rest of our lives, ultimately leading us back to live with our Father in Heaven.