Jesus said: “Let’s go to a place where we can be alone and get some rest.”
Mark 6:31 CEV
At the height of his fame, thousands of people were following Jesus around. They’d walk from town to town as he travelled, or go miles out of their way to see him if they heard he was in the area. It made a lot of work for his disciples, and they found themselves rushed off their feet with crowd management. They didn’t even have time to stop for a bite to eat. Jesus noticed this, and so we get the invitation in this verse: ‘let’s get out of here, and take a break’.
Your energy levels matter to God. God doesn’t need us always on, burning the candle at both ends – even if we think we’re busy with really important stuff. God made us to rest.
Rhythms of work and rest are part of creation, and everything in nature rests. All animals sleep. Even trees have a kind of sleep state. We only discovered this very recently, when scientists with a laser scanner found that trees relax their branches at night. So there’s nothing wrong with feeling tired. It’s the most natural thing in the world. That’s how our bodies tell us that it’s time to rest.
It’s a gift to enjoy responsibly of course. Too much rest is an abuse of that gift, but so is burnout. There’s a healthy balance between laziness and overwork, and that’s where we’ll be at our best. “There is a time for everything” says the teacher in the book of Ecclesiastes, “a season for every activity under heaven”. There’s a time to put in extra hours and finish a project. But there’s also a time to get away, to finish early, to take a nap.
Jesus looked out for his disciples, and he looked after himself too. There’s a story in Luke chapter 8 that begins with Jesus taking a nap. If the son of God can take naps, you can too.
Jeremy Williams is a writer, blogger, and founder of Earthbound Ventures, which finds new ways for people to connect with nature. If you need a regular dose of wonder, check them out here.