A Matter of Trust

Adapted from a presentation by
Pastor Lloyd Munson

In the May 1998 issue of Smithsonian appears the story of "The Horse Whisperer."   It is about the legendary trainer Buck Brannaman, who trains horses by the revolutionary method of building trust.

Here's Buck's method:

1. He ropes a colt and works gently with it at the end of a rope, letting it walk quietly until it loses its fear.

2. He desensitizes the colt with things that might frighten it.  He might wave a flag in front of it, or throw a blanket over its back, or gently slap its side with a strap--just teasing a little, not hurting the animal in the least.

3. He teaches the colt to follow his lead.  And when he sees just a slight effort by the colt to do his bidding, he puts slack on the rope and strokes its face or neck reassuringly.

4. He puts a saddle on the colt and leads it around the corral until it's comfortable.  Then the most important moment of all, he drops the rope and slowly steps backward to the center of the corral and just stands still and stares at the colt.  As the colt turns away from the fence to face him, the beautiful moment of connection occurs, called "hooking on."  He gently reaches out to the colt with both hands and says quietly, "Come to me, baby.   Come to me."  Their eyes connect, and at that moment a life-long trust is born.  The transfer of the colt's loyalty from the mare to its new master is made.

Buck explains, "I have now gotten the horse of its own will to focus on me without being forced.  I want this beautiful animal to feel down deep that he'd rather be with me than anywhere else."   And from that magic moment, the colt follows him around without any rope at all.  This all happens in about two hours time.  The spectators spontaneously break into a standing ovation of awe and respect for Buck Brannaman's gentle and superior techniques.

Jesus stands with outstretched arms in the arena of our lives, holding out His nail-scarred hands, and whispers, "Come to me."  He doesn't drive, push, whip, or manipulate.  Jesus doesn't dictate, mandate, or pontificate.  He simply draws us with those eyes of love, those cords of love, and whispers gently, "Come to me, you who are weary, who are burdened with your yoke of bondage."

Jesus calls YOU who are physically exhausted, those who are emotionally exhausted and wounded. Maybe you are carrying a heavy load of remorse, or you are weary of trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Jesus calls those who are spiritually exhausted.  Did you know that Jesus was spiritually exhausted?  In the book The Desire of Ages you will find several instances when Jesus became so spiritually exhausted He knew He had to get away and find restoration.  One of those times was when He was sleeping in a boat during a bad storm. And then we have the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. We are told that Jesus was actually depressed.  I'd call that being spiritually exhausted, or overburdened.  He was weighed down with a sense of our sins.  Many times we become overburdened with a sense of our own sins.

Jesus calls to YOU who are perhaps burned out on religion.  For one reason or another you may have a distorted picture of God and you want absolutely nothing to do with Him.  He wants to show you His great love and that He really is a wonderful God, who also has great plans for your life.

All of us are at times weighed down with terrible burdens only Jesus Christ can remove.  He stands in the center ring and says, "Come to me, and I will give you rest."  He lovingly says to each of us, "Trust in me.  Give in to the gentle pressure of my lead rope." Then He says "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."

What is a yoke?  Have you ever seen one?

In Korea, farmers still work the fields with oxen.  The interesting thing about these oxen, the farmer directs them only with his voice.  He doesn't beat them; he only speaks.

They have a unique way of making a yoke that results in a perfect fit. The craftsman goes to the forest and finds an oak, chestnut, or cherry tree.  He cuts down the tree and brings back a branch that is twisted just right so it will fit over the top of the two oxen's heads.  And then he begins cutting and carving. After the branch is shaped in a general way, he puts the new yoke on the oxen.  But first he powders charcoal on the backs of the oxen, so that when the yoke is placed on their sweaty backs, marks are left on the yoke at the rub points.  Then the woodworker shapes those spots so the yoke won't rub anymore.  Then he carefully tacks some fleece on the inside to keep the yoke from chafing.

Jesus says, "My yoke is well fitted for you.  My yoke is personalized for you, so that when we are working together you will find it pleasant pulling.  My yoke is not a galling yoke, it is one that is chafe free.  It is a kindly yoke.  A 'you're-someone-special, one-of-a-kind' yoke.  My yoke is well fitted, it is tailor-made just for you!"

If the yoke you are wearing is chafing and is difficult for you to cope with, perhaps you are trying to wear someone else's yoke.  Perhaps it isn't the one Jesus had tailor-made for you exclusively.

Eugene Peterson says it this way in his paraphrase: "Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you'll recover your life.  I'll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."--Eugene H. Peterson, The Message (New Testament in Contemporary English).

Jesus whispers to each of us,

"Come to me,
Come to me."

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