Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. (Mark 6:31-32)
What do crowds of people do to you? Do they drain you or energize you?
They didn’t have professional personality profiles in Jesus’ day, so we don’t have a psychologist’s take on each of the apostles. But we can assume at least some of the Twelve were drained by the crowds. Which ones do you think were most weary? The fishermen, who were raised in the great outdoors? The tax collector who had learned to shield his heart from those who hated him?
Regardless, everyone, no matter how they are wired, needs time away. That’s why Jesus wanted to escape with His disciples to a “quiet place.” So they got in a boat and made a break for it.
But the rest was short-lived. In fact, large numbers anticipated their route and ran on foot to meet them when they landed. Too bad Jesus and the disciples didn’t have one of those high-powered cigarette boats (Ok…I know they are used for smuggling, but you get the idea). They could have been miles away before the crowds knew what hit them.
Instead, the event that followed was the “feeding of the five thousand.” Therefore, not only did the disciples not have the quality time with Jesus they needed to catch their breath, but instead they had to feed thousands of people and pick up the leftovers.
Yet, there was a moment. The boat trip appears to have been a short one, but it did give Jesus and the disciples some time together. Do you think they saw the crowds running along the shore to meet them? Did they slow down so they would have more time alone?
There is no substitute for having “enough” time to rest. But in the absence of “enough” sometimes “something” is better than nothing.
I say this, because I imagine many of us are in the same boat, figuratively speaking. We want more time with Jesus, but our best plans often fail. In fact, to be honest, for some of us they usually fail.
What do we do? Certainly, we should evaluate our priorities and ask ourselves what we can do to make sure our time with the Lord isn’t interrupted. But we should also take advantage of the “something” moments in our lives and treasure them.
What is a “something” moment? It could be: a pause in the morning when we find a rainbow in the sky when we step out the door; a favorite chorus on the radio on the way to work; an opportunity to say a short prayer as we watch our children walk to the school bus.
I know we need more, and we should work for more. But “something” really is better than nothing…even if it is just a short boat ride across a lake.
Dear God, help me make the most of the time I have with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.