I remember conversations with people where we decided that Jesus was not rushed off his feet and took time to relax and chill out. In those discussions Jesus’ slow reaction to the news of his friend Lazarus’s illness comes up quite a lot. He didn’t seem to feel under pressure but came in his Father’s timing to do his Father’s work, which in this case was raising his friend from the dead.
But I have just read something in my morning bible readings that I do not remember noticing before. The main reading was about Heb 4:15 where we are encouraged that Jesus was tempted in every way like us. One example was in the busyness of life.
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. Mark 6:31
Reading that was an ‘Ahah’ moment for me. Jesus and his disciples were, at times, very busy. They didn’t just float around with a relaxed pace of life and not breaking in to a sweat. They experienced and responded to the pressure of people’s needs. I often feel like the day moves on at such a pace that there is not even time to eat.
After Jesus heard that his cousin, John the Baptist has died, he tries to get away to a quiet place but the crowd followed him. Even in his grief and tiredness, his compassion for them energises him to teach them.
The real issue is not busyness, but who or what we are serving in our busyness. Is it success, or self-worth, or praise, or acceptance, or the good opinions of others? Or is it the kingdom of God as a loved and accepted son of God?
Also, just read Phil Moore’s Gagging Jesus. The first chapter is about stress. He says
“’I’m feeling stressed’ is just another way of saying ‘I’m trying to do God’s job for him and it’s not working out for me’. Jesus warns that stress and worry aren’t minor vices or personality flaws. They are the symptoms of our self-worship…the fourth century writer Hilary Poitiers described stress and worry as ‘a blasphemous anxiety to do God’s work for him’”
He finishes with these verse
29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29 (ESV)
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30 (ESV)
Yes there will be times when extending the kingdom, we are rushed off our feet. We should not expect to float around effortlessly without breaking in to a sweat. However, it’s good to know that at such times, Jesus will be calling us to come away and rest with him a while.