Summary: Just as the ball players take time out from the game, we must take time out to spend with God.We take time out for rest and refreshment. We take time out for reflection before we return to the game. We finally take time out to receive our reward.
All of us have seen it many times on our television screens or in person. Ten men rush frantically up and down the basketball court. Suddenly the piercing shriek of a whistle is heard above the roar of the crowd and someone shouts “Time Out”. Or picture a baseball diamond. It is a crucial part of the game perhaps in the late innings. The batter hits a screeching ball over 2nd base driving in the runner. Time out is called as the catcher and the pitcher hold a conference at the mound. Time out may be called when a player is injured, when a pitcher is removed from the game, or for any number of other reasons. Time out is called in football games, hockey games, soccer games or whatever.
In fact, the sign for Time Out is so familiar that most of us non-competitors recognize it right away. The phrase “Time Out” is used in a non-athletic sense also. We take time out for a coffee break, or a coke or a Tastybreak, time out for this or time out for that.
Because we are physical creatures, we must take time out to rest and renew ourselves. How refreshing it is on our jobs to take a few minutes out for a time of relaxation. We go back to our work refreshed and rejuvenated. Students studying for exams experience the satisfaction of taking time out now and then from the mental concentration. We have all experienced the frustration of trying to solve a problem or find a mistake. We take a few minutes out and return to find the mistake or the solution very soon.
Just as we need to take time out in our physical and mental activities, we also need to take time out in the spiritual life. Jesus recognized this need in our text. People were clamoring after Jesus and the disciples so that they had no time even to eat. Christ says, “Come ye apart and rest awhile.” He is really saying, “Fellows, we need to call time out. We need to take a break.”
As the ball players in the various competitive games must take time out for many reasons, we must also take time out in the spiritual games of life. Paraphrasing Shakespeare in Macbeth, we are all players in the game of life strutting and fretting our hours upon the playing field of time and then are seen no more. Why do we need to take time out in the game of life?
First of all, we need to call time out for rest, recuperation, and refreshment. The ball players call time out at times just to rest and refresh themselves. Especially in games like football and basketball where tremendous energy and effort are expended, time must be called out for players to catch their breath, rest, and refresh themselves. Our bodies, minds, and spirits, need rest.
God is the only one who does not need rest. He stays awake day and night to see about us. He neither slumbers nor sleeps. That’s why we ought to be at peace and sleep. If God neither slumbers nor sleeps, there is no need for both of us to stay awake.
But we are made for rest. Even Jesus when he was on earth, clothed in human flesh needed rest. He got weary and tired. He experienced every thing we go through.
Some people are what we call workaholics. They love to work. They never want to take time out. But if you don’t take time out, you will burn out. But if you want to work all the time, God will sometimes take you out of the game of life and make you rest awhile through a heart attack or some other illness.
We need time out. We are not like that commercial for the battery that keeps on going and going. But even batteries give out sometimes. Even batteries have to take a time out. Even machines need a rest. You can’t run your cars for miles and miles. Sooner or later you have to take it in for a check up. You have to call time out. Sooner or later you are going to have to put some gas in the tank. We have to call time out for our cars.
But some of us don’t really take time out from our daily jobs. We bring the problems of the job home with us. We worry and stew about what happened on the job. Take time out from the burdens of the job. Spend some quality time with your spouse, friends, and relatives.
On most jobs the employers will give the workers a break for lunch, or just some free time. I read somewhere that employers are allowing their employees to take a nap on the job. It increases their effectiveness. The ball players need to call time out so they can rest their weary bodies, and recuperate from the activity.