“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.”
This was on the heels of learning about the beheading of John the Baptist. Did Jesus know how hard a blow this would be to His men? Yes. They were already weary with ministering (and we’ll see that they hit the ground running when their boat came to rest on dry ground again), and then to have this weight of grief put upon them…it was too much to bear. What was the solution? A boat ride with their Master.
“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” Ps. 61:1-3
He led them to Himself. No luxury cruise. No two-week, paid vacation. Just perhaps an hour or two with Him. How often have we felt that “Calgon, take me away!” weariness? The day that is heaped with straws to break the camel’s back? There is wisdom in briefly withdrawing if we can. Read for an hour. Go for a stroll. Turn on some music that resets your stress button. Do something that is therapeutic…bake, crochet, play Angry Birds (lol), nap, garden… Do something which helps you find your center, and when your mind and spirit are once again calmed and prepared, read some scripture or listen to it on a recording, open a hymn book and read the words, or sing aloud. Pray. Pray. Pray…out loud if possible, and without a list.
Here is an excerpt from Spurgeon’s “Lectures to My Students”, in a chapter called “The Minister’s Fainting Fits”. Don’t be mislead…there are plenty of practical insights for Christians in general when it comes to this idea of rest.
“In the midst of a long stretch of unbroken labour, the same affliction may be looked for. The bow cannot be always bent without fear of breaking. Repose is as needful to the mind as sleep to the body. Our Sabbaths are our days of toil, and if we do not rest upon some other day we shall break down. Even the earth must lie fallow and have her Sabbaths, and so must we. Hence the wisdom and compassion of our Lord, when he said to his disciples, “Let us go into the desert and rest awhile.” What! when the people are fainting? When the multitudes are like sheep upon the mountains without a shepherd? Does Jesus talk of rest? When Scribes and Pharisees, like grievous wolves, are rending the flock, does he take his followers on an excursion into a quiet resting place? Does some red-hot zealot denounce such atrocious forgetfulness of present and pressing demands? Let him rave in his folly. The Master knows better than to exhaust his servants and quench the light of Israel. Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength. Look at the mower in the summer a day, with so much to cut down ere the sun sets. He pauses in his labour, is he a sluggard? He looks for his stone, and begins to draw it up and down his scythe, with “rink-a-tink—rink-a-tink—rink-a-tink.” Is that idle music? is he wasting precious moments? How much he might have mown while he has been ringing out those notes on his scythe! But he is sharpening his tool, and he will do far more when once again he gives his strength to those long sweeps which lay the grass prostrate in rows before him. Even thus a little pause prepares the mind for greater service in the good cause. Fishermen must mend their nets, and we must every now and then repair our mental waste and set our machinery in order for future service. To tug the oar from day to day, hike a galley-slave who knows no holidays, suits not mortal men.
Mill-streams go on and on for ever, but we must have our pauses and our intervals. Who can help being out of breath when the race is continued without intermission? Even beasts of burden must be turned out to grass occasionally; the very sea pauses at ebb and flood; earth keeps the Sabbath of the wintry months; and man, even when exalted to be God’s ambassador, must rest or faint; must trim his lamp or let it burn low; must recruit his vigour or grow prematurely old. It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less. On, on, on for ever, without recreation, may suit spirits emancipated from this “heavy clay,” but while we are in this tabernacle, we must every now and then cry halt, and serve the Lord by holy inaction and consecrated leisure. Let no tender conscience doubt the lawfulness of going out of harness for awhile, but learn from the experience of others the necessity and duty of taking timely rest.”
Read the entire chapter here: http://www.the-highway.com/articleSept99.html