I am weary. Are you?
Jesus calls all of us who are weary. Jesus promises us rest. Jesus provides us a safe place where we can share all of the burdens that are on our hearts. Jesus invites us to take a break and renew our strength and our spirits so that we can get back to work.
I can’t help but wonder if God has used and is using this time of pandemic to help us change. We have opportunity to look at the way things were pre-pandemic, and decide what we miss and what we don’t miss. WE have the opportunity to change. As we begin to return to some more “normal” ways of life, we can ask ourselves: What do you want to leave behind from the pre-pandemic world? What have you learned this last year and a bit that you want to keep doing or carry forward? Then looking bigger than ourselves, what do we want for our community? What work do we need to do so that our community is a safe place for everyone? What justice work do we need to do on behalf of our siblings? What work do we need to do to make God’s kingdom come, God’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?
One of my favorite authors and speakers is Brene Brown, and she says, “it takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.”
Rest is necessary for action. We need to strengthen our bodies, minds, and spirits. We need to rest in Christ.
When we encounter Jesus and the disciples in Mark 6:30-34, the disciples have returned from their journeys. Jesus had sent them out two by two. They preached. They cast out demons. They anointed with oil. Now they have re-gathered as a group, and imagine the stories they have to tell! Imagine how proud they must be of all they had accomplished! I can just hear them planning out how they would tell Jesus and the others what happened, and who would get to tell which part of the story. I can just imagine how excited they were as they returned!
Jesus’s response to them is, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile.” Though the disciples were on a “high” from telling their stories, you know that fatigue of the trip is going to follow soon. That initial burst of energy will fade as weary bones, tired feet, and hungry bellies takeover. Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile. Take a load off. Let’s continue to telling stories and celebrating after you have had a rest, a meal, and some sleep.
Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile. Why don’t we rest? Why do we push ourselves to keep doing more and more? Have you ever been around a tired toddler? They will insist that they are not tired, even through big yawns. Even when their eyes are barely open, they still will fight sleep. They are so afraid that they will miss something. Grown-ups are not all that different. We are so tired, but we will not stop and rest. We are so afraid that we will miss something.
Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile Come lie down in green pastures. Come beside still waters. Our souls can be restored when we rest in Jesus. Even if we stop long enough to relax, we still have to slow down our minds and let go of our troubles. Jesus is ready to take on all the burdens we are carrying. We feel pressed upon by the needs around us. For some, it is being a caregiver. For others, it is living with pain or illness. For some, it is financial worries. For others, it is turmoil in relationships. Jesus is ready for us to lay down all those heavy burdens. To stop and rest.
Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile…isn’t that why we have vacations? When was the last time you were able to get away? When will you be able to have some time apart?
Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile. If you are weary from living through the pandemic, Jesus says rest a while. If you are weary from what you see on the news, Jesus says rest a while. If you are weary from physical, emotional, or mental health issues, Jesus says rest a while. Jesus invites us to rest. To take a deep breath and recollect ourselves. Our souls need rest, and Jesus offers us that rest. We just have to allow ourselves time with him. Maybe you spend time with God in prayer. Maybe it is reading Scripture. Maybe it is journaling. Maybe it is going for a walk. Maybe it is a nap. Give yourself permission to let your soul rest.
I don’t know what God has in store for you next. In this story, Jesus is about to feed the 5000. He and the disciples need to rest so they are ready to face the crowd. Take the time to rest, don’t judge or shame yourself for resting. We cannot be successful if we only do and never just be. Accept Jesus’s invitation to rest a while.