Now for the story behind the tattoo. I was about a year into my first ministry position. To say things weren't going as I hoped and expected they would is an understatement. I was a young man with visions of grandeur! I was going to make a difference. I was going to change the church. I was going to change the world. I would be someone! About the only thing I became was frustrated and discouraged. The reality of ministry and my expectations were separated by a vast canyon. There were lots of meetings, a bunch of paperwork, and plenty of other boring responsiblities. I felt very little of my time was actually spent doing anything worthwhile and productive.
On it's most basic level, this tattoo serves to remind me that I am yoked with Christ. The two of us are walking this sometimes rutted, narrow path of life together. While he is not physically present, his spirit resides within. Whatever comes my way, I am not alone! It reminds me he has been in far more desperate circumstances than I...and yet he did not stumble. It reminds me that if only I will submit, the burden will be more bearable. It also symbolizes that in my submission, I am able to rely on his strength to carry the load when I no longer can. The image of the yoke brings to mind a couple of verses in the fourth chapter of Hebrews, "This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."