We see Jesus withdrawing in order to work through tragic news, such as when he learns that his friend John the Baptist has died. He withdraws to gain insight on important decisions, such as which men to call to follow him. He withdraws so that he simply can pray. He withdraws to enjoy time with his closest companions. He withdraws as a means of teaching his disciples the unparalleled value of rest. He doesn’t wait until his mission is accomplished. He doesn’t wait until someone sanctions a few days off for him. He doesn’t’ even wait for an official “Sabbath” to dawn. When he senses it’s time to withdraw, he just goes.
“Jesus obeyed a deeper rhythm,” wrote Wayne Muller. Absolutely, he does just that: engage, engage, engage, withdraw… engage, engage, engage, withdraw.
Rhythmic—that’s how Jesus lived.
It’s how we’re invited to live too.
We’re invited to work hard and retreat frequently and trust that whatever falls through the cracks while we’re retreating will get tackled during our next working-hard time. The universe really will keep spinning, as I’ve promised you. Even in our absence, it goes around.
I myself am not entirely convinced this is true, you understand. You’d pick up on this if you observed me for a few days. But credible people I know say it is so, including Senator Joe Lieberman, a guy pegged as unlikely to write a book on sacred rest. And yet he did. In it, he wrote, “None of us needs to work every day of the week. A lot of people think they are perpetually indispensable—to their families, to their co-workers, maybe even to the world. If I don’t go to work, my career will be ruined. If I don’t go shopping, my family will starve. If I don’t go to the gym, my body will atrophy.”
There’s that ugly fear again, that if we don’t keep all the plates spinning, they might just crash to the floor. And, oh, the mess that would make. Secretly we’re afraid that if we don’t keep doing what we’ve always done, all of life will fall apart. We all think this is true.
In our better, brighter moments, we see that of course this is not the case. We see that we are not the sum of our spinning plates. We see that we desperately need to rest.
And that’s the memo.
*from Day 3 of Addicted to Busy by Brady Boyd in a Bible reading plan YouVersion App*