I Have Decided

“I have decided to follow Jesus…no turning back; no turning back. The world behind me, the cross before me…no turning back; no turning back. Though no one join me, still I will follow…no turning back, no turning back.” Simple words by an unknown author; set to an old folk melody; best sung with enthusiasm and without too much thought or it might be a bit difficult to sing, especially if we thought Jesus was listening.


“Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus had just finished His rebuke of the cities He had visited and where He had done mighty works. The residents of those cities had come out in droves to hear Him, but they rejected His message. He ends this portion of Scripture in Matthew 11 with these two verses. We all understand being weighed down with the cares that come from being human, and we like the idea of a Savior giving us rest. The problem is the “yoke.” The picture of being confined in a yoke gives us pause. But I believe that Jesus’ emphasis was on the word “my.” He saw that the crowds were already wearing heavy yokes, and He had compassion.

Some of those who came to see Him out of curiosity were not interested in “religion.” They lived their lives the way they wanted and did as they pleased, but they balanced their scales of justice by doing good deeds, giving to charity, etc. If there was a god he would be fair and let them in. They were as good as anybody else! Others that came were very religious, and proved their devotion to God by following their brand of religious activity. They were better than everybody else!

Both groups were wearing man-made yokes. Jesus saw their burdens; living with the fear of not being sure you’re right, the uncertainty of what tomorrow held, doubts and questions about what God really wanted from them, and the suspicion that they might not be doing enough or were good enough. But, He also saw that, for the most part, both categories of people preferred the life they knew, however bad, to the unknown He was promising them, however good, and they would take their chances. Talk about a heavy burden!

But then, just as now, there would be some hearing His voice who would come to Him for the rest (salvation) He promised and would take His yoke and follow Him; coming to understand the paradox and finding that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. They could sing with sincerity, “I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back, no turning back; in joy and gladness, thru pain and sadness; no turning back, no turning back.”