30The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.
31And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)
32They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.
33The people saw them going, and many recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them.
34When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because hey were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.
Hey folks. I know it’s been a few days since I’ve written. For those of you that were disappointed that I didn’t, I apologize. The past couple days were a little stressful for me and I seem to have cut my devotional time out to make up time. Definitely a mistake.
Today I’m writing about a passage I just read in Mark. I left the bible I use for my devotionals at work, but I have one at home that I’m following along in. I read the message this morning and something jumped out at me. As I thought about it, I felt urged to share, so here we go.
To give context about when this is taking place, this is just as the disciples return to Jesus from him sending them out to perform miracles. John the Baptist was just beheaded. I think in traditional bible reading we tend to skip over this section because it’s more of a segue than it is a lesson. That is, until I realized something today.
As the disciples return from their mission, Jesus tells them to take a break. Wash up, get some rest, eat something. For those military folks out there, you know what that’s like. Returning from a mission or even coming home after a long exercise. All you want to do is shower, eat a hot meal, and sleep for about a day or two.
This is what Jesus was telling them to do. Just as they were getting situated, however, the crowds sprang upon them. What does it say Jesus did? “He felt compassion for them…” would we have felt the same way? Or, would we have felt like we deserve for them to leave us alone, after all we have just done?
I think about the times when I feel tired and I decide not to answer the phone. Or I’ve had a long day and don’t have the energy to talk to someone who needs a listening ear. I think that Jesus leading the way (and the disciples obediently following step) here is a great example of self sacrifice. Sometimes we think of sacrifice as a grand decision. Here, they just sat down and ate with them. They didn’t reject the people. They communed with them.
I think that the biggest reason we don’t sacrifice ourselves like this is because it feels like we will NEVER get to rest. Never get that time off. The story ends with: “45Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. 46After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.” You see, Jesus still made sure that His men got away and got their rest. This could easily roll into a leadership lesson but I won’t go there today.
My point is that God still provided them the rest they needed. Based on my experience, I would guess that if the disciples (or Jesus for that matter) didn’t take that step, they probably wouldn’t have gotten what they needed. These people needed Jesus and the disciples to be with them. They “sucked it up” and instead of having a quiet dinner alone they got to have a plentiful meal with a crowd of people that loved and cared for them. Makes me think of those days where I feel too tired to get up on a Sunday morning to go to church, but without fail, I’m always glad I did.
Where in your life do you have to “suck it up” and sacrifice your desires and wants?