By Chris WittsSunday 27 Oct 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
From what I have read,many of us are feeling very weary. Is that how you feel? Surveys have showed that thousands,if not millions of people,suffer from sleep deprivation. Fatigue and exhaustion can be a serious issue,and can lead to car accidents,illness and sleeping disorders. It seems that many of us (adults and children) are not getting enough sleep. We are,quite literally,a weary people. But we don’t need surveys to tell us these things ..how often have you said “I feel exhausted” or “I’m running on empty” “I need a rest for a while”,or “I need a coffee to keep me awake”.
People are tired these days and they will tell you so. We are over-worked,over-committed,over-extended,stretched-thin,stressed-out,and burnt-out. We are too busy and we are too tired,and we will tell you about it. It seems like there is some kind of strange competition going on where we try to outdo each other with how busy and how tired we are. In a curious way,busyness has become a socially desirable good.
We are a busy,busy people these days,and ask somebody how they are doing,and you’re more than likely going to hear about how worn-out they are. We didn’t need a national survey to tell us what we already knew: we are,in many ways,a weary people. The pace of modern life has picked up ..Most people are busier than ever. The average workweek has increased rather than decreased in the last thirty years. Professionals are saying things like .. “Technology is increasing the heartbeat. We are inundated with information. The mind can’t handle it all. The pace of life is so fast now.”
And we are not just physically tired. The Germans have a good word for this other kind of weariness: weltschmerz,which means “world weariness.” We are wearied by many things in our lives. In our work lives,people speak of being tired of the rat race,the daily grind,or climbing the corporate ladder. In our political lives,people are tired of broken promises,empty rhetoric,and partisan bickering. In our personal lives,we are tired of being alone, tired of the routine. We are tired of feeling angry all the time,or feeling afraid all the time,or feeling worthless all the time.
In Mark 6,we read of a day Jesus was with his apostles and the crowds kept coming. They couldn’t get any privacy,and did not have time to eat anything. So Jesus said “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (v31).” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place” (v32) Jesus was concerned they were over worked and needed a break ..
Our Lord knows what we need,even when we do not. When we gather around him,we may want to tell him all the things we have done and all the things we have taught others. We hold up before him our busyness and our weariness as objects worthy of praise and reward. We tell him that we have been so busy that we haven’t even had time to eat. And we say to ourselves,surely all these things will prove how important and valuable we are.
Jesus looks past all our illusions and he doesn’t even mention them,because if he did,he would have to remind us that all that we are and all that we do are gifts from God in the first place. Rather,he looks into our hearts and sees what we truly desire,what we truly need. He makes us lie down in green pastures just like it says in Psalm 23 and leads us beside the still waters and restores our souls. And he says to us,”Come away to a place all by yourselves and rest a little while with me.”
How refreshing this response must have been to his weary disciples that day. Notice Jesus didn’t respond to the apostles’ reports about what they were doing by going over a new strategic plan. Notice he didn’t respond to their reports of what they were teaching by going over a new curriculum. No. He said to his weary apostles,”Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.”
Don’t we all long to hear these words spoken to us by our Lord? Don’t we all desire to hear the invitation to come to a place all by ourselves and simply rest a while in the presence of our gracious God? Sometimes we need to stop and say “what am I trying to achieve in my life? What is really important? Am I making time for God,or am I just building my life without Him? Is God in control of my life?”
And rather than see weariness as a sign that something is out of whack,we take it as a sign that we are making headway. See how busy and weary I am? Doesn’t that mean that I am valuable? Doesn’t that somehow make me worthy of admiration? Doesn’t that merit at least a little divine favour?
— The Rev. Dr. Joseph S. Pagano is rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Baltimore,MD.