The Yoke

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A yoke originally referred to a wooden frame. It could be fitted to a person’s shoulders to help them carry a load in two equal portions. It was used to join two animals, such as oxen, to help them work together. It refers to the bar, at the end of a wagon’s tongue, that is suspended from the collars of the team’s harness. It can be the frame from which a bell is hung or a crosspiece on the head of a boat’s rudder. it was also an arched device clamped about the neck of a defeated person when the authorities wanted to subject someone to conspicuous ridicule, scorn, or indignity.

The control wheel and column used by aviators is also called a yoke. It is used to control the plane’s elevators and ailerons to effect movement about the pitch and roll axis. Throughout history, the yoke has been a device for doing work whether it involved multiplying foot-pounds, incentivizing man or beast to fall in line, or some other means of directional control.

When Jesus said “follow me,” he coupled it with the statement “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” This is definitely welcome news for anyone that’s tired of getting yanked around. When God gave his son, we beheld this gentle giant of a man as the best possible example for leadership. We are fond of saying that the best leaders lead by example. And, one of the foremost qualities of a leader is that they are driven. They’re not driven like beasts of burden that are pushed but they are drawn to achieve something.

Most introductory management courses stress what’s called positive and negative KITA. The acronym means a Kick In The ASS. It is usually explained using the picture of a donkey. The rider is often depicted as holding a stick in front of the animal from which a carrot is dangled on a string. The donkey moves towards the carrot hoping to get a bite. Behind the animal is a guy holding a paddle. If the donkey is too stubborn to move, he gets whacked on the butt.

The more advanced management courses stress the fact that every time the donkey gets a bite of the carrot, his appetite is diminished and you end up with less carrot. Likewise, when the donkey gets whacked on the rear, he grows callouses back there and you had to invest a considerable amount of energy in swinging the paddle.

What’s often missing from the management curriculum is the difference between incentivizing someone and motivating them. Unfortunately, one of the biggest product lines, within those initiatives managed by custodial CEOs, is a wide variety of de-motivators. Custodial CEOs are typically not the ones that actually built any given enterprise. They are usually selected by subsequent investors to engage, surreptitiously, in activities that have the effect of siphoning off equity from the company as well as the host country.

Companies are typically formed by people that are enthusiastically working in company with one another. Authentic corporations are composed of people, associating for a common purpose, and acting corporately. Our definitions of terms such as company and corporation have been distorted over the years by certain judicial and political sophistries. And we need to understand those if we are ever to have authentic companies, corporations, and democracies.

The people that are “enthusiastically working” are at the heart of healthy families, companies, and countries. The term “enthusiasm” stems from the word elements “en’ plus “Theos.” Thus the first definition is “God within,” which is entirely consistent with what Jesus taught when he said “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” The second definition is “in God” which was delineated by Paul when he said “for in Him we live and move and have our being.”

Clearly, there are two ways to look at “corporate personhood.” Corporations are people in the sense that they are comprised of people. The deception is based upon any holding that a corporation is “a person” that is somehow in addition to, or over and above the people within, that are actually doing the work. This latter definition has been used to misrepresent the workers, drown out the diverse voices of the masses, and thus distort the social and political discourse.

Where actual citizens are held responsible for their speech, corporate speech can be delivered anonymously. Since a corporation is not “a person,” for it lacks personal responsibility while exerting excessive influence over public policy. The crosspiece that is supposed to hold the rudder for the ship of state is missing. The conceptual framework for our constitutionally grounded democratic republic exhibits decay. The team is not equally yoked nor is it usefully yoked. 

The bell of freedom and liberty is no longer suspended from the arch that is supposed to remind us of how unbridled self-assertion works to the detriment of others. The is only one remedy and it doesn’t force us to nose up or down or do a hard bank left or right. Yielding to the yoke of Jesus is the only way to be forever centered in the will of Our Heavenly Father.

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