«Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.” (Mark 6:30, 31).
How beautiful it is to return from a journey and have that talk in which we tell about everything we saw and experienced, the mishaps, the surprises, and the funny stories! We very often have photos and videos, and sometimes even some little souvenir gifts.
The disciples had so much to recount. Did they tell Jesus about the sermons they had preached? Did they mention the names of the people they had visited or the places they had gone through? We do not know, but it really was a unique experience. However, they often felt distressed, not knowing what to do and not being able to consult Jesus. The Master now wanted to spend some time alone with them so that they could be in communion and so that He could give them further instructions on what they should do in the future. Jesus knew that they were tired and overwhelmed by everything that had happened. In addition, they had not even had time to eat.
A couple of years ago, I walked into a pizzeria in Buenos Aires where there were high tables for people who ate in a hurry—standing up. We have arrived at that frantic pace today, and at that time, the disciples did not stop to eat, either.
However, God has not created us to live at that pace forever and He knows better than anyone that we need to rest.
«As the disciples had seen the success of their labors, they were in danger of taking credit to themselves, in danger of cherishing spiritual pride, and thus falling under Satan’s temptations. A great work was before them, and first of all they must learn that their strength was not in self, but in God. Like Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, like David among the hills of Judea, or Elijah by the brook Cherith, the disciples needed to come apart from the scenes of their busy activity, to commune with Christ, with nature, and with their own hearts» (The Desire of Ages, ch. 38, p. 360).
We often run the same risk in our lives and in the church. God is inviting us to have an encounter with Him, rather than with an activity. Let us pray for balance and let us pray for our leaders, too, so that together we may always put the focus where it should be.