When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.
Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.
When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” (About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Even if it’s not for a very long time.
Put your head down and do the thing.
Pursue your career.
Tucked right in between two significant moments for the apostles was this little line, “When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida…”
These guys had been out traveling and do the work of ministry. They were healing, preaching, and dealing with demons. They took nothing with them. The apostles went out to do the work. When they got back Jesus took them away for a retreat. The sense we get is that getaway lasted a very brief time.
Whatever you do, there are rhythms of life. There are seasons of busy-ness and there are seasons of quiet. When you’re in the midst of the busy-ness you need to give yourself to it in the sense that you work hard. But, when you’re in the season of quiet, it’s time to get away. It’s time to find emotional, spiritual, and physical rest.
There is a lie that we believe in: balance. We somehow believe that there is a work/rest balance that we can somehow find. The problem is our lives are more like the pendulum of a grandfather clock. They swing between two poles, in this case, rest and work. If the pendulum stops swinging, we say that the clock is broken or worse yet, dead.
Jesus shows us this beautiful model of the work-rest continuum. When we are healthy we are swinging between work and rest. We find a rhythm of both.
If we get stuck in the “rest” aspect of life we will die.
If we get stuck in the “work” aspect of life we will die.
Many of us struggle with not allowing ourselves to rest. We feel like we have to keep going and going and going. We secretly believe the world will fall apart without us. It’s just not true.
Some of us struggle with not working hard. We have discovered that we can skate through life and not add anything to the world. We secretly believe the world doesn’t need us. It’s just not true.
There is beauty in the concept of the “sabbath rest.” To take one day and engage in re-creation. Isn’t it funny how adding a hyphen can change the meaning of a word?
Take some time today and ask yourself: Where am I at on the pendulum? Am I stuck in rest or work? How do I move the pendulum towards where I need to be? Or, am I in rhythm? If so celebrate!