Summary: We need a Sabbath Rest in order to serve and not become exhausted
PRESCRIPTION FOR EXHAUSTION OR RECIPE FOR REST
Readings: II Samuel 7:1-14a
Mark 6:30-34 and 53-56
All of the Bible is not written TO you, but all of the Bible is written FOR you, so I hope you will follow along in your Bible this morning as we dig in together and see what it has to teach each of us. I am titling it, “Prescription for Exhaustion”, or “Recipe for Rest.” I know that it is a universal problem…we’re all tired and we could use some rest. So hang on now and let’s put ourselves into the story.
Turn with me now to Mark 6: beginning in verse 30.
We come in in the middle of the gospel story in Mark.
It tells us only that the apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.
Jesus had earlier sent them out to preach, teach and do miracles in his name. Evidently this time they had been successful. They were “up” emotionally but needed to lie down, physically.
You can be so excited that you don’t even realize that your energy is being spent, but there comes a crashing down to earth again eventually.
The scripture here says there were so many people coming and going, the disciples didn’t even have a chance to eat.
The disciples had not only been working long days, but they had also been HURRYING. It is not so much what we do that tires us so much, but the PACE we keep while doing it.
(It must be called a DEADLINE for a very good reason.) We just about kill ourselves trying to get everything done on time.
This is one thing we learn in retirement. When there is no certain time limit to accomplish something, it takes forever to get it done.
Someone said the only thing wrong with retirement is that you never get a day off.
So we set a goal and before we know it we are overloaded because we don’t leave enough time to rest in between.
Jesus was very anxious to hear about their ministry, but he looked beyond the surface and saw their misery, too.
He said, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.”
V33> But, many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them!
How many of you know that if you decide to rest, those whom you have been serving will not let you?
The background reading I did for this said it was about ten miles around the lake but only four miles across it. But if the wind was too still or blowing in the wrong direction, it was faster on foot to just run around to the other side than to take a boat across. These people hungered to hear more of the word of God and be in the presence of Christ. They didn’t let the distance deter them.
V34 When Jesus landed and saw the large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Imagine Jesus’ eyes of compassion on this crowd.
They disturbed him in the desert, but he delighted to disciple them!
He wasn’t irritated, nor did he complain about their imposition. He knew that sheep follow their shepherd. He knew that sheep need feeding and can get lost or get into dangerous situations.
We need to report for duty, regroup, refuel and then return to work. It is a healthy cycle that Jesus modeled for us.
In the verses 35 to 44 between those we read in the lectionary readings this morning, Jesus had the disciples participate with him in the miracle of feeding the five thousand. After he taught them, fed them and sent them back to their homes, he went away to the mountains to pray.
Jesus went into the hills not to escape, but to equip.
True prayer always has consequences in others’ lives.
Reading on in verses 45 to 52…
Then what happened? A storm came up with high winds and raging seas and Jesus was called to the rescue again.
Jesus saw the disciples straining at the oars (They were rowing but not going!) He could have spoken to the winds to be still or change directions. He could have sent an angel to rescue them. But, this time he started walking across the lake towards them and they thought he was a ghost. He was about to pass them by…BUT when they saw him they were terrified, so he got into the boat with them.
I don’t know about you, but two things about those verses struck me as strange. Why was Jesus going to pass them by? We know he cared about them and noticed their struggle.