A quote that is attributed to Aristotle observes that “nature abhors a vacuum.” He based his conclusion on the observation that nature requires every space to be filled with something, even if that something is colorless, odorless air. If that is true, nature must have considered my summer season a vacuum as it was filled with expected and unexpected stuff. In the last month of this season, I am finally feeling ready for summer but it has passed me by.
This is hardly news to southcentral Alaskans whose summer seasons tend to be manic no matter how careful we plan our time. With near twenty-four hour daylight, the “salmon rush”, camping, visiting family and friends, we hardly have a lack of things to fill our time. This feels great in May after a winter season that tends to begin a month too early and last a month too long. However, by August we can wonder why we are dragging a bit and looking longingly at the approaching routine of school and the disciplines of making a living.
The news has made much of Elon Musk’s transparency when he recently admitted he worked 120 hours a week and that was “wearing on him”. That admission was enough of a scare his investors send the stock of his company, Tesla, plunging dramatically.
Jesus knew the crush of demands upon His time. In Mark’s gospel it describes a busy time in which Jesus and His disciples didn’t “even have time to eat”.
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.
What was Jesus’ response to this? To put in more hours? To keep skipping lunch to meet the demand? No, His response was “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” He retreated, took a break, punched out, went incommunicado.
It takes a lot of courage to hit the pause button. Many of us are rather hard-wired to respond to the demand for “more”, more of our time, more of our precious resources. To not provide it can trigger anger and disappointment in those who are demanding it.
Since we can’t always control the demands on our time or schedule, it is important that when we are able to, we should look for a way to find rest, not only for our bodies, but our souls as well. It is Jesus’ promise when we follow His example:
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Rev. Stephen Brown is the pastor at the Kenai New Life Assembly of God at 209 Princess Street in Kenai.