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.
I remember learning to ride my first bike, but my favorite bike memories are when I taught my kids. Without fail, at the beginning, the front tire would wobble back and forth more and more wildly just before one of them bit the dust. And they all bit the dust. Sometimes they would try again; sometimes they would call it quits. Learning to ride a bike at first is completely unnatural. Once it clicks—the balance, pedaling, steering—it’s hard to imagine not knowing how to do it. With enough practice, you don’t even think about riding a bike anymore. You just do it.
Jesus talks about taking up a challenge to live differently. It’s sort of like riding a bike. He wants us to live in grace and walk in love, but at first it is a gangly, wobbly wreck. We might even get banged up a little. Then, after a while, you just know how to do it. The Bible describes it as a rhythm, like breathing itself, where we are taking in grace for ourselves and holding out love for others. It is not natural, and it takes some practice. But Jesus showed us the way.
Maybe one day we’ll look a little more graceful and pull off some cool tricks—hop a couple of curbs, do a wheelie or a bunny hop. Not unlike Peter and John, who healed a man in Acts 3, Jesus wants us to stick with Him through the awkward learning parts so we can learn to ride like He does. He wants to take our mind off of falling so we can pedal more fearlessly. Sure, there will be some scratches and scrapes. But we can pick each other up and help each other get back on for another go.