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. (Mark 6:31)
A seminary professor of mine long ago once told a story about his time as a pastor at a church in Hawaii. He had been working long hours caring for the church and its members and apparently was looking a little run down. He went to see one of the oldest, and wisest, of his members one afternoon and when she opened her door to let him in, she took one look at him and said, “Pastor, Jesus died for us once and it won’t do us any good for you to do it again!” She told him to go home and take a nap.
Sometimes it seems like our greatest joy comes from complaining about how busy and tired we are. I often hear people bragging about how busy they are and how little sleep they get. Admittedly, I fall into this trap myself, often feeling guilty if I don’t think I am not working enough or accomplishing enough. It is hard to get off the hamster wheel.
Yet, the Bible tells us over and over that we are more than what we do. The Sabbath commandment to take a day of rest was a reversal of the days of slavery in Egypt when the Hebrew people were forced to work without rest. And several times in the gospels, Jesus tries to take time by himself or with his disciples to rest and recharge.
Go ahead and take some time to rest. Sit outside and watch the birds. Listen to the rain falling. Read a book just for fun. Go for a walk. See a movie. Wedge in some time to do whatever it is you find restful and remind yourself that God has made each of us for joy and loves us for who we are, not what we do, or make, or accomplish.
Come away and rest a while.