When exhaustion takes the back seat

The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. – Mark 6:30-44

Pink Hibiscus | Austin, Texas | October 2020

The mother of young children knows the drill. The nurse on his third overtime shift can write a book. The single mom working three jobs to keep her family in tact sighs knowingly. Sometimes we simply must tell exhaustion to take a back seat to needs beyond our own. 

Jesus knew this better than anyone. He spent his life doing good, healing diseases, teaching God’s truth, and responding to people’s needs. And following an intense time of ministry he seeks some solitude with this disciples. They had no time even to eat. So he goes away with them. 

Only one problem with this; or perhaps two. The crowds see Jesus. They are excited about his ministry. They want to get in on some of the excitement. They are swept up in the religious fervor.

So Jesus is not able to have some down time with his disciples. No time to reflect. No time to debrief. No opportunity to rest. The people are relentless in pursuit of Jesus. They will insist on hearing him teach. Or if not that, Jesus’ commitment to seek and save the lost will propel him to the front of the line of meeting people’s needs.

This is the other problem with Jesus’ attempt to get away for some rest. Needs of lost people never wane. Needs for healing. Needs for teaching. Needs for forgiveness. These will always present themselves. And Jesus will not ignore our needs. 

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