Ox or Donkey?

A business social event, not my forte’ as I prefer quiet spaces, small bistro tables soaking in the soft green eyes of my sweet bride, or a table for two with an audience of One, conversing with the Almighty about everything and nothing. Yet today would be different. Breaking out of my “nose to the grindstone” routine in time to slide into my seat, the usual pleasantries were exchanged with talk of handshakes versus fist bumps. Obligatory discussions of upcoming business quickly digressed to stories of college days past, dove hunting and beer drinking. Volume accelerated and the “language” deteriorated far below what decorum should allow, becoming a place I did not need to be. Feigning tremendous workload awaiting me (okay, that was real), I made my exit.

In the solace of silence, my frustration brought to mind a passage about being “yoked with unbelievers”

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV

While I prefer scripture in more contemporary English, the King James Version states “unequally yoked together.”  Paul used an agricultural reference, which the Corinthians would understand where two oxen, working in tandem, would increase plowing production more than just the two-fold strength of animals combined.

Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.  Deuteronomy 22:10 – NIV

Do not team the stronger with the weaker, for the ox would overtake the donkey and draw the plow off course. My strengths are certainly not superior to others for I have been both ox and donkey. When an ox, I feel I can compensate for the donkey, but when a donkey, yoked to a team of oxen, I stumble and become trampled by a mass of hooves and “droppings.” I thought this passage promoted avoidance of unbelievers; however, it only advises us to be wary of how closely connected we are.

“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

In taking on the yoke of Christ, He, in turn, takes ours on His shoulders, not just carrying our share of the load, but also grasping the reins, guiding the team back to the straight and narrow.

Lord, open my eyes to the unequal yokes before me that I may call on You to shoulder up alongside me before the burden is too much for me to bear. May You be Glorified in the plowing and the abundance that will sprout in the furrows.

Amen …