Robert Frost wrote “The Road Not Taken” for a poet friend who was chronically indecisive about which road to take on their hikes together. His gift was a personal joke! When Frost shared the poem with college students, it was taken very seriously. Either way, a choice is inevitable, and Frost recommended choosing the road less traveled.
Recently, I enjoyed a conversation with a young leader in Dallas. We talked about vision and what keeps it alive. Thoughtfully, he remarked, “Harriet, burden is the birthplace of vision.” And our conversation soared at that point. Haven’t we heard the word “vision” thrown around haphazardly, to such a degree that its only identity was short-lived ideas, not the long-term vision of fruitfulness birthed by a healthy burden?
It seems the road most traveled is the road of good ideas, and the less traveled path is one where an authentic burden to serve people launches a fresh, vibrant vision.
Charles Spurgeon preached at least 12 different messages on one of my favorite passages, Matt. 11:28-30, which speaks of rest, taking His yoke and light burdens. Spurgeon called these verses “pearls” that lie deep in the water, waiting for a diver to discover their beauty.
In this well-known passage, Jesus spoke of two kinds of people, those heavy-laden with burdens and those invited to wear an easy yoke and carry a light burden.
The religious population in Jesus’ era carried heavy, oppressive, worrisome, grievously demanding burdens. Jesus’ approach to life, called discipleship, welcomed a new type of burden-carrying. It’s called the new and improved, light and unoppressive burden. It doesn’t mean that this new burden will not include challenges, trials and headaches, but we will last through them because of the distinct aroma and purposes the new burden has in our lives.
Burdens relating to vision are about serving people. I have a daughter who has a burden for urban moms in Toronto. Some dear friends have a deep burden for Niger, an 80 percent Muslim nation in Sub-Saharan Africa. My friend has a burden for his aggravating neighbor. My sister had a burden to write a book—and she did! These burdens serve people and have reflected lasting, fruitful visions, in spite of challenges and disappointments.
When anger, comparisons or cynicism invade my soul, it’s evident my response of “Why am I doing this ministry thing in the first place?” reveals the heavy burden of the road most traveled. I find my joy waning and myself whining! This is the perfect scenario for me to spend some time slowly reading Matt. 11:28-30 and getting refitted by my personal “yoke tailor.”
First John 5:3 says, “His commandments are not burdensome” (NKJV). Perhaps that’s because when we are yoked with Him, His and our burdens become lighter. May our burdens be ones that bless. Albert Schweitzer said, “… the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
The Lord’s easy-yoked partnership does give sustainable energy, even burdens that empower.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference” (Frost).
- Ask the Lord to give you joy in the burdens you carry.
- Pray for courage to take “the road less traveled” in your spiritual walk.
- Pray that that He would open your eyes to a new vision.
Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.