I went to the mall in Langley recently and it took me twenty minutes to find parking because the mall was packed with people rushing in and out with their errands and shopping lists. As I was watching all the people, I wondered why we live such busy lives. People often say that they are “overscheduled,” and that they are so behind and trying to catch up. Why are we constantly busy and overcommitted?
Jesus’ disciples shared our problem to a certain extent. Mark 6:31 says that the disciples were so busy that “they had no leisure even to eat.” To these busy people, Jesus does not say, “well done, hard-working friends!” He actually says, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” The disciples had just returned from a thrilling assignment to share God’s kingdom with many people. Despite their physical and emotional exhaustion, they were excited to report back to Jesus about all that had happened, but Jesus slows them down and tells them to rest.
Why would he kill the momentum like this? If I were Jesus, I would commend the disciples for working overtime for the greater cause. Thankfully, Jesus is wiser and he cares deeply about his friends. He knows that running on empty is unwise. He understands our need for rest. Are you overcommitted and always running behind? Do you need to hear Jesus’ words to slow down and rest a while?
Reggie McNeal warns that we can become “a casualty of a struggle that is as old as humanity—the drowning out of eternity by the screams of temporal concerns.” We ought to heed this warning and slow down as we head into a busy season. Pete Scazzero states that “an emotionally healthy disciple slows down to be with Jesus, goes beneath the surface of their life to be deeply transformed by Jesus, and offers their life as a gift to the world for Jesus.” I pray that you will be properly rested and saturated with the presence of God so that you can be a gift to others.