30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 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.”
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
I’ve heard it preached numerous times that we need rest, because Jesus needed rest. There’s many points in the Gospels where Jesus goes off by Himself to “get some rest” and spend time with His Father. Some of us are introverts and get energy from being alone, and some people are extroverts and get energy from being with people, and then there’s Jesus who gets energy from being with God, which is cool because He is God and is therefore always with God. Regardless, rest is good.
So a lot of these rest sermons end there, and then turn into a self help guide on how to sleep or how to get into Bible reading routines so that you can be like Jesus and gain energy from the presence of God or something along those lines. But this passage makes me think that there’s more to it.
Jesus recognized the need for rest, which was why he recommended that the apostles get some of it after their missions. And that’s done a great deal to comfort me in the times when I’m surrounded by people constantly, yet feel guilty because I can literally feel the life draining from me and I know I’m going to lose it if one more person speaks to me or demands a second more of my attention. But he also recognized the immediate needs of those around Him. Which then puts the ball back in my court.
Because sometimes you have to sacrifice the rest that you are entitled to in order to meet a need.
You have to surrender meeting your needs in order to meet someone else’s.
And that’s not easy to commit to. But Jesus did it. He gave of Himself, even when He felt empty.
He still rested. He just postponed it. He was selfless and knew He could take care of Himself later.
And that bugs me, because I don’t feel myself when I’m rested. I feel like I’m not me when I can’t be alone and spend time with Jesus and run and paint and draw and read. I like having control. I like knowing that there is time for me to be me and to be happy and to forget about every thing else.
And that’s healthy, as demonstrated by Jesus suggesting rest.
But it’s also selfish if I put it before helping others.
But the cool thing is that this passage comes right before Jesus feeds the 5,000, one of His greatest miracles while on this earth. He did that on empty.
So God convicted me today to give up control. And He promised that in return, if I’ll just lose myself in Him and in serving as He served, I’ll be able to do all that is demanded of me. I still need time to rest. But I need to be willing to work that around the needs presented. And He said something about finding joy in loving and serving instead of finding temporary happiness in focusing on resting. And the rest will come naturally.
Point is, I don’t want to miss out on something crazy – like feeding 5,000 people – because I demand rest. I guess it boils down to asking myself if I would rather see rest for myself or restoration in the people who rely on me.
Speaking of which! I got called into work two hours early the other day, and it made me super angry. Because I’d spent all week planning on having Jesus time during those two hours. So I about died when I realized I wasn’t going to get that. Regardless, I showed up for work, and in those two hours, I received several compliments from guests saying I was a prime example of servanthood and “the most entertaining staff member” they’ve ever encountered, and then I got a job offer from an owner of a beautiful restaurant in a country club in the mountains as I handed him his coffee. And I’m beyond excited for that opportunity! I would’ve missed that had I demanded rest.
Anyway. I think I’m done because my boyfriend just showed up at my door because I stole his car today.