Saturday, October 12, 2013


When my wife and I were in Alaska for our 30th wedding anniversary we stopped at a training facility for sled dogs. That sounds more impressive than it was. It was just a house at the edge of the woods with lots of barking dogs . . . and mosquitoes.

The guy who owned the place came out and gave a pre-packaged little talk about the Iditarod sled dog race and then began hooking up the dogs to his summer-time sled, an old rusty ATV. He let a few of us hook up some of the dogs. My wife did that. I took pictures. It was a cool to watch the dogs pulling the ATV down the gravel road (the motor was not running) Their trainer just sat on the ATV, watching the dogs. No "Mush!" No "On, you Huskies!" He just sat there, yelling an occasion "Hup." And he watched.

The reason the trainer watches the dogs is to sort out which ones run well next to other dogs. Some dogs just don't like each other, he has to watch out for that. In the middle of the Iditarod race, when temperatures have dropped down as low as 41 below zero, is not the time to be discovering that Ralphie and Brutus don't like each other.

The trainer also watches for that one special dog - a dog who can lead. Good lead dogs are hard to find. They control the tempo and overall performance of the entire team of dogs. Lead dogs are a special breed. But it is the whole team, pulling together, equally, that is important.

Do you know what a yoke is? No, it's not a bad pun. And no, I'm not talking about eggs either. A yoke is a means of hooking animals to one another so they can pull something together, like the dogs in the Iditarod race. Or like a couple oxen pulling a wagon.

When the mushers have a strong dog on one side and a weaker dog on the other, there is a tendency for the stronger dog to do more work than necessary. When a farmer has two oxen yokes together he wants them to be "equally yoked" so when they pull the plow, their furrows are straight and true.

Being un-equally yoked is not as productive and being equally yoked. Whether it be animals or humans, pulling together is far more productive than pulling in opposite directions. Human relationships are like that. Whether it's in our friendships or marriages, being equally yoked with one another is vital to the success of those relationships. Marriages that have different beliefs and different desires have a built-in friction that is not always easy to overcome.

The wedding of my nephew a few weeks ago is an example of a couple being equally yoked. They both are followers of Jesus. They both love Him more than they love each other, or themselves. God is the "lead dog" in their lives. Their relationships is poised to succeed. It will be enjoyable to watch as they "run the good race" (2 Tim 4:7) together, behind Jesus, their "musher", their King.

"28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30

As we go through this life may we all have relationships that are equally yoked. Life would be so much easier if we all lived that way. There would be fewer traffic accidents traveling at the same speed. Our politicians could pull equally to serve us instead of them each pulling in their own direction, or in the direction of their particular parties. If we all were equally yoked with one another, in Christ, imagine the productivity for God's Kingdom. Let's pray for that.

Iditarod Web Page

Come To Me by Aaron Shust

"14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God." - 2 Corinthians 6:14-16

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