Have you ever noticed how strongly your own context colors the way you see scripture? Maybe this is one of the reasons why we can read the same passage of scripture a thousand times and still see something new on the thousand and first reading.
Just before Jesus feeds the 5000, we read:
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place…
And then after feeding the 5000:
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After He had dismissed the crowd, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. Later that night, He was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn, He went out to them, walking on the lake…
A few things that stand out to me on this “thousand and first” reading.
1. It had been a very busy season of ministry for Jesus and the disciples (they reported to Him all they had done and taught).
2. The needs of the people never seem to go away. There’s always another need (feeding 5000 people). What an exhausting thought!
3. Jesus modeled rest and prioritized it for the disciples (“Come with Me by yourselves…”).
4. Jesus spent a significant amount of time alone. He went “by Himself” and “was there alone” in a solitary place on the mountainside, arriving in the evening and not leaving until just before dawn.
As I reflect on the priority of rest in Jesus’ life and ministry, a few questions have to be asked.
Do I let the “tyranny of the urgent,” the needs around me, rob me of rest?
Do I prioritize true rest? Does my version of rest include silence and solitude?
Do I push the pace, crowd the agenda, and overextend those I lead, robbing them of rest?
We live in a culture that doesn’t prioritize it. We live in a culture that celebrates and rewards those who do more, better, faster. We brag about our busyness as if it were a badge of honor. We load up on coffee, energy drinks and supplements to push through when we’re tired.
Maybe cultures who slow down for an afternoon siesta know something we don’t. Maybe it’s time to better prioritize…
We need it.
God ordered it.
Jesus promised it.
I think I’ll take a nap 🙂
To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit: SONLIFE.COM