Dan's thoughts for November 5, 2021:
My old plug-in electric lawnmower cut its final swath of grass in mid-summer this year. The motor stopped running in the middle of the front lawn. I had been thinking about buying a battery-powered mower anyway, so the old mower’s failure turned my “thinking” into “doing.” After Amazon delivered the new machine, I charged the battery, then started to mow. The front lawn was about three-quarters done when the mower quit. This time, however, was different. All I had to do was go inside the house, grab a second battery from the charger (snapping the discharged battery into the device), and resume the work.
Even the most deeply-committed, active, strong, effective servants of God run out of energy, spiritually speaking, from time to time. Jesus’ demand,
Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while,
or, as the New International Version translates it,
Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.
The NIV’s words — “with me” — aren't found in the original Greek, but I think there is a very good reason for their inclusion. Knowing the Lord’s deep love for his disciples, it is unlikely that he would have sent Peter, James, John and the rest off to some isolated spot without being by their side.
Why do I believe it is likely that, while he sent the disciples, in his words,
he did not fail to accompany them? Simply stated, it wouldn’t have been in Jesus’ nature to trundle them off to some remote spot beyond the reach of his personal care and counsel. He was fully aware that their ministry to him, which task they had taken very seriously, was sapping their energy. Mark says,
So many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat.
That simple two-word phrase, “with me,” was to them and is to us what recharging Li-ion batteries is to battery-powered mowers. You can no more expect to accomplish the simple task of cutting the lawn without a recharged battery than you can hope to accomplish the work Christ sets before you without a fully-“charged” spirit. He expects — no, gently demands — that you set aside time to linger in his presence expectantly and eagerly — yet quietly and patiently — to gain resilient strength to do what lies ahead.
Here then, not only for those who were in Jesus’ physical presence in the 1st century, but also for those who are in his spiritual presence now, is help for burned-out disciples.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls….[M]y yoke is easy and my burden is light.