Read Mark 6:31
31 Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. (NLT)
It is so sad to hear people, especially those in Christian ministry, to talk endlessly about how busy they are. It becomes a bit of a competition. The busier I claim to be the more work I must be doing for God. The more I do, the more I achieve. My busyness shows how important I am.
Which is all utter nonsense. Of course we seek to be active and not idle, and of course there is much to be done. But we need to recognise that not all that is to be done has to be done by us. Particularly when it somehow feeds our fragile egos and causes us to develop a sense of our being indispensable.
Jesus was certainly no layabout. He was busy, but he also took time apart for prayer and rest. And we see here he ensured his disciples also came aside to rest. Surrounded by legitimate and urgent human needs, Jesus withdrew. In his human state, he knew his limitations and was sensitive to the disciples’ tiredness.
There is a time to work hard and a time to rest. A time to engage and a time to withdraw. And we might add that such withdrawal may not be just for prayer but for sheer refreshment and rest. It may well be that Jesus invites us to come aside sometimes not for some intense spiritual activity but simply to have a break. Nothing unspiritual about that.