Leisure. Such a simple word yet such a difficult concept to own in these high demand, high pressure times. Even now the malign presence of the Protestant Work Ethic still casts the shadow of malingering over our understanding of life, work and worth. It is so easy for us to load guilt upon our shoulders if we take time for ourselves. For too many ministers the work-life balance is tipped disastrously in the direction of overwork at the expense of self and family. So much to do, so little opportunity to just be.
Jesus nailed such nonsense. We simply choose to ignore what he said. We fail to make the cognitive link between his pattern of life and our own. In the little verse quoted above he exercises sympathetic oversight of his disciples. He cares about their wellbeing. He takes action to protect it. He encourages them to rest. So often in the gospels Jesus is simply with his disciples; they chat, eat and reflect together. They need time away from the pressing work of the God’s Kingdom because there will always be too many people clamouring for their attention.
Jesus is still saying the same thing today. We ignore him at our peril. We need to take time, sit still and reflect on his meaning.