Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Come away . . . and rest
Many people will say that a pastor’s life is one they could not live. The idea of leading a large group of people down their spiritual walk with God frightens the average layperson—not to mention the other responsibilities that a pastor obtains when entering the ministry. Perhaps the same feelings existed in the ones who witnessed the busy-ness of the early disciples of Jesus.
Reading the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Mark, I am curious as to how Jesus and his disciples accomplished their mission of healing, all the while staying healthy themselves. What if Jesus sent his disciples on their mission (6:6b-13) to lessen the enormous responsibilities Jesus himself felt? Much as the church is unable to function with a single person, Jesus utilized the resources available to him to accomplish his mission of healing—sending his disciples out and giving them authority over unclean spirits. However, as Mark 6:30–31 points out, the disciples had basically exhausted themselves. As a Good Shepherd, Jesus called them to rest.
In whatever profession we find ourselves, Jesus invites us to “come away . . . and rest a while” every now and then. Jesus knew that his disciples were working diligently to provide the ministry of healing throughout all Judea. But Jesus also recognized the threat to the disciples’ own health as “they had no leisure even to eat.” We often get distracted in our busy lives, forgetting to give attention to our physical and emotional well-being. We are so caught up in the “to-do’s” of life that we fail to take time to rest.
Sit on a park bench for awhile, rock in a rocking chair, or lie in the grass and stare at the stars. Spend a little time resting in God’s arms.
Hmm . . . that gives me an idea.
Russ Williams, pastor, Moravia Moravian Church, Summerfield, North Carolina