Relaxation is not a luxury, but rather a good thing for our well being. Our physical body and mind regularly need to recharge energy, and to refresh themselves. They do it best when we take time to relax, and while we sleep. Our spiritual journey needs time to relax, to refresh our faith journey, and most importantly to recharge our appreciation of God's love through prayer and meditation. Our faith needs God's love, and we gain it through prayers. The best way to begin our day is to do so with morning prayer. We give thanks to God for a good night's sleep and to offer a new day to God. We believe God is active in us. God directs our thoughts and actions, and God is our companion on our journey. At the end of an active day, we need time for reflexion. It is not a time to plead for new things, but rather a time to contemplate the foot prints of God, Who is active in the world, and Who is present in our daily activities. Daily meditation helps us to examine how we had been with God on that particular day. At the end of our meditation, we ask for God's protection while we sleep.
The apostles constantly recalled Jesus' instructions in their mission field. They believed, and were faithful to, His words. Jesus was not physically with them in their mission field, but they trusted Him. They believed, He was invisible amongst them. This trust gave them peace of mind. They felt God's Spirit was working in their own lives and in the lives of others.
Returning from their mission, they were dead tired, but full of joy. They were very happy when they saw Jesus, and saw each other. They joyfully told each other stories of their work experience. Knowing how tired the apostles were, Jesus showed them His love and care when He told them to go to
'a lonely place and rest for a while' v.31 .
Resting, in the Bible, associates with a quiet place. It is a place to enjoy the beauty, and the vastness of God's creation. It is a time to feel the peacefulness, and the harmony of the natural world. It is a time for relaxation, to recharge energy, and a place to be alone with God. Jesus told the apostles to relax, and to learn more about themselves. They learnt about their ability to communicate in public, and the ability to relate to the crowds.
The apostles boarded their boats, and sailed to the lonely place, but the crowds predicted their arrival point, and reached there on foot before them. Probably tiredness, and hunger slowed their journey. The crowds followed the apostles to show they had established a strong bond with those whom they served. The crowds loved the apostles, and they loved them. The crowds wanted to be with them, and wanted to hear more from the apostles. Jesus wanted the apostles to have a break, but the crowds wanted them to go on working. Serving others requires flexibility. Sometimes we need to prioritise the needs of others before our own, and that is part of our call to follow, and to serve.
Jesus had compassion for the crowds, because they were 'like sheep without a shepherd v.34'. He taught them at length. His heart was warm for those who were hungered to hear the word of God. We came to know Jesus because He had shown us His compassion and love, and we respond with a strong, firm: 'Yes' to follow.