30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.
I have just a quick thought from today’s reading. The disciples went out and worked for the sake of the gospel. They returned to Jesus and shared with him the results of their ministry. It has been a busy time. It had been a time of hard work.
What did Jesus do with them? Jesus suggested to his disciples that they all get away for a little while, to rest and recharge. Jesus was recommending a retreat, a little rest and relaxation. Jesus called his disciples to take a vacation.
What’s cool about this is that Jesus did not tell his disciples how sad it is that they needed to get away. He did not bemoan the sin condition of the world that would require such a time away. Nor did Jesus make the disciples feel guilty for not being able to hack another full month of ministry. He just told them to come with him somewhere else.
Now, for those who know the context, the rest that the guys planned was interrupted. But, I do not think that is relevant to the truth that Jesus encouraged his disciples to take a rest and recharge.
God has made people and patterned for us rest. The Lord himself rested from labor on the seventh day, and he made that a practice for humans to model. This was not the result of sin, but simply of goodness. Later, with the nation of Israel, God set a pattern of work and rest. He set a pattern of months of labor followed by celebration and feasting. God is not anti-rest or anti vacation.
Of course, it is quite possible for a person to make an idol of leisure. It is possible to become so into the down time that you have no up time. But, it is important to understand that work and rest are both part of the good human existence.
Lord, I would ask that you help me to work well and to rest well as glorifies your name. Help me to know when I need to press into work and when I need to take time away. Let me be used for your glory in all that I do, at work and at rest.