Summary: Jesus understood when, how, and why to "chill": when His emotional energies had been drained; how to back off the need to be needed; and for the purpose of providing a still point of healing for others.
If there is any one thing that distinguishes my generation and
later generations, like the Gen-xers, it is that we have totally
different attitudes about work and play. We are light years
apart about what we expect from work or what we want from
play. People born before and during the World War II years
were schooled in a strong work ethic. Those of us of a
certain age do not think that work is something you do to
make a living. We think that work is life. We of our
generation are not comfortable unless we are working on
something that keeps us busy. We were schooled in a
vigorous work ethic.
But the next generations see themselves in a different way.
You “whippersnappers” do not work because work is a good
thing in itself. You work because you want to express
yourself. You work because you have a statement to make.
So if you can tell the world who you are without breaking a
sweat, you will be perfectly happy to do so. I know a young
man, one of these Internet workers who sold his stock at
just the right time, before the bubble burst. He will never
actually have to work again. He quit his job to live off his
windfall. I predicted he would get tired of relaxing and would
soon want to go back to work again. I said, nobody will feel
satisfied just traveling and having a fun time; you will want to
work again. Guess what? Wrong, wrong, wrong. It hasn’t
happened. There is that generational difference. I would
work even if I didn’t have to. He is quite content with doing
his own thing and not working. I will come to my dying day
saying, “Not yet, Lord; I have a few more jobs to finish.” He
will come to his dying moment saying, “Okay, Lord; heaven is
one of the few places I haven’t checked out. Let’s go.”
A pastor friend of mine told me what a hard time he is having
with several young assistant pastors his church has tried to
hire. He says that they do not want to hear about the job;
they want to know how many weeks off they get, they expect
to work only nine to five, no night meetings. And one of
them even wanted to know if there was some way that he
could work in the ministry and still have Sundays off! Well,
said my friend, after a series of conflicts with these people,
one of his young disasters said, “Pastor, you would be a lot
less uptight if you would take more time off for yourself.” My
friend exploded, “I could take some time off for myself if I
could get anybody to help me around here.”
It’s a generational thing. Some people live to work, and
others work to live. Some people take time off when they
can squeeze it in, and others manage to squeeze in a little
work between vacations. It’s a generational thing. It’s also a
personality thing. And it is also a spiritual thing. It’s a
spiritual thing because unless and until we learn how to
manage the balance between work and play, we will find little
satisfaction in our own lives and we will be of little value to
others. It’s a spiritual thing, when and how and why you rest.
To use the vernacular, how you chill is a spiritual issue.
Can I talk with you about Jesus chilling? Jesus chilled.
Jesus backed down from His busy schedule. Jesus broke
away from the job. And when and how and why Jesus
chilled will teach us much we need to know about ourselves.
Let’s watch Jesus chilling.
First, when did Jesus chill? When did He rest? He rested
when He realized that He had been through a very
demanding time. Nobody had to tell Him to shut down. He
just knew it. And it was not just being physically tired. He
knew when He was emotionally worn out. He knew when He
was dangerously depleted.
The passage we read today comes right after the story of the
feeding of the five thousand. Jesus had just dealt with this
immense problem of all those hungry people who wouldn’t go
home until they got something to eat, and He had come up
with an answer. He had taken a measly five loaves and a
paltry two fish, had blessed them, and had made them go
Now you might think that miracle working was just a part of
Jesus’ thing, no big deal. Maybe so. But my imagination
runs wild at the picture of Jesus having to organize this
mess. The Bible says that He told His disciples to make
everybody sit down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Let me