Have you ever felt like you’re continually serving people? Possibly your family, your job, or your church and now you’re just spent? You feel like you can’t do one more thing! You’re just exhausted. Well, imagine this with me, Jesus’ disciples sometimes felt the same way.
Mark 6:30-44 gives the account of the disciples as they returned from a ministry tour and were ready for some downtime. Jesus reassured them that, indeed, rest was coming so He instructed them to get in a boat and go to a quiet place. Getting away for a short period of time from ‘needy’ people is a good, healthy strategy. I’ve come to learn that everyone has needy people in their lives but those who retreat or pull back for a while seem to rejuvenate themselves. We can get pretty frustrated and exhausted from constant demands on us, however, Jesus looked with compassion on the people; He considered them like sheep without a shepherd. If you can work out a time away with God, even a few hours, you’ll find that same compassion through Him.
The well-deserved rest that the disciples had earned in their ministry was, however, delayed. Jesus’ love for those needy people caused Him to reflect on their state, sheep without a shepherd, so He began to teach again, encouraging everyone to sit and listen. Jesus reassured them again of His Father’s love and continued to explain how to live a victorious life in the Kingdom of God. Don’t forget, on the sidelines were twelve disciples who were already fatigued, they wanted this day to be over!
What keeps you going? What keeps you serving? What keeps you pressing in? Hopefully it’s your love for the people in your life and your desire to please God. At the end of that day the disciples found a way out. “The people are hungry, Jesus, can you send them away to get food?” That wasn’t the Savior’s plan though. “You feed them.” Really Jesus? Do you know what we’ve been doing the last few days? Ministry! Your ministry! Now we should feed them?
So they did, 5,000 men and their families, possibly 20,000 people. OK, that beats my 13 for dinner or my 24 for brunch. That’s a good story but what happened at the end? Get this, there were twelve baskets of leftovers to divide up for each disciple. Everyone was fed to their content; clearly, Jesus provided more than enough for all.
He’s like that, you know. When you’re feeling depleted remember that He has more than enough to satisfy you. Those moments away are vital to your perspective, attitude, and peace of mind. Maybe you need to reevaluate your schedule, your commitments, and prioritize. Time with God should be first, not your leftovers. Let’s not forget that truth this week as we minister to those in our lives.