The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
I am terrible at resting. This is something that I discovered over the years. I have had a long struggle with insomnia and even when I do sleep, I tend to “crash” more than rest. I’ve always assumed that normal people know how to rest, yet I find more and more that there are people like me for whom rest does not come easily.
The passage above is jammed into between two very fruitful events in the lives of Jesus and the disciples. The disciples have returned from going out to villages of Galilee proclaiming God’s reign to all who will listen. They have just come back to report to Jesus what they have done. After this passage, Jesus feeds a crowd of 5000, an event in which the disciples’ role should not be ignored. These are good days. Busy days. Many are served. The love of God is felt.
The summer season is wrapping up. This has been a busy, fruitful time for all of us. While I am just stepping into my role, I have been busy concluding my ministries in Ohio. Oh, and making periodic trips to Pittsburgh to introduce myself to some of our key stakeholders. I’ve been around enough to know what you all have been doing. Kids have been loved, homes have been fixed, songs have been sung, buildings have been maintained, bills have been paid (some of them!), decisions have been made, phones have been answered… and sometimes emails even got sent!
The fall will be more of the same. We will do all of the above, plus we will reintroduce ourselves to some with whom we have lost contact and remind them of the great things that God has done in us and through us. And we’ll introduce ourselves to new friends who may want to walk alongside of us. This is going to be an exciting season!
But you have to rest. In between fruitful seasons of ministry, we must rest. Take time away, reconnect with loved ones and the One who loves us most of all. To not rest is the ultimate sign of arrogance. A refusal to rest betrays the fact that we believe that we can do this all on our own energy and not that which God provides. Certainly we’re not that foolish, right?
Friends, thank you for the work that you have done this summer! God has used you in ways that you may never fully understand. And there is more of that to come in the months ahead. So please… rest well. Find ways to become re-energized for the work to which God has called you.