“It is good for a man that he bears the yoke in his youth.” Lamentations 3:27.
I am not a moral lecturer, but a minister of the gospel. I have fulfilled a duty when I have given the first meaning to the text, and now I shall use it for nobler ends.
First of all, It is good to be a Christian while you are young. It is good for a man to bear Christ’s yoke in his youth.
I shall not ask you to pardon me if I speak here as one who has tried and proved it. Surely I may do so without egotism, for it is not my own honor, but God’s, that I shall speak of! What the Lord has worked in me—of that I will speak. At 15 years of age I was brought to know the Lord, and to confess Him, and I can therefore speak as one who bore the yoke in his youth; and, young people, if I have never to address you again, I should like to say to you, it has been good for me. Ah, how good I cannot tell you, but so good that I earnestly wish that every one of you would bear my Master’s yoke in his youth; I could not wish you a greater blessing!
For, see, first, the man whose heart is conquered by divine grace early is made happy soon. That is a blessed prayer in the psalm, “O satisfy us early with Thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” Very few people, if they understood it, would wish to postpone happiness; young hearts generally ask to be happy now. To have sin forgiven is to be unloaded now of that which is the prime cause of sorrow. To receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ by faith is to be clothed with peace now. To be reconciled to God is to have a spring of consolation within your soul now. To know yourself to be God’s child is to have the greatest joy out of heaven, and to have it now. Who would wish to postpone it? Young Christians may die, but it is of small consequence if they do, for being early in Christ, they will be early in heaven! Who would not wish to be safe as soon as possible? Who desires to tarry in the land of peril, where a point of time, a moment’s space, may shut you up in hell? To be early secured from the wrath to come—early endued with a sense of security in Jesus Christ—why surely it does not need many words to prove that this is good!
Besides, while early piety brings early happiness, let it never be forgotten that it saves from a thou-sand snares. There are things which a man who has lived long in sin knows, which he wishes he could forget! God’s grace rinses your mouth after you have been eating the forbidden fruit, but the flavor is very apt to linger and to return; songs which are libels upon God, and upon decency, once heard, will attack you in the middle of a prayer; and words which, if you could forget them, you might be willing to lose your memory for that purpose, will invade your most hallowed seasons. It is a great mercy of God that if a man is 70 or 80 years of age, yet if he shall believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, he shall be saved! Eleventh hour mercy is very sweet. But what a double privilege it is to be set to work in the vineyard while yet the dew is on the leaves, and so to be kept from the idleness and the wickedness of the market place in which others loiter so long.
It is good for a man to bear Christ’s yoke in his youth because it saves him from having those shoulders galled with the devil’s yoke . It preserves him from the fetters of that pitiful slavery into which so many are brought by habits long acquired and deeply seated. Sins long indulged grow to the shoulders, and to remove them is like tearing away one’s flesh . Be thankful, young people, that the Savior is ready to receive you while you are yet young, and that He gives you the promise, “They that seek Me early shall find Me.” Happy are they who entertain the Redeemer in the morning, and so shut out the evil spirit all day long!
C H Spurgeon