February 8, 2020 (Saturday) - Sleep Sweet - A Reflection on Mark 6:30-34

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

Do you remember Mary and Martha? They were two sisters who were great friends of Jesus. One day, when they invited him to his home, Martha busied herself in the kitchen cooking for him, while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to him talk. When an upset Martha asked Jesus why he didn’t tell Mary to help her in the kitchen, Jesus rebuked her gently saying that of the two things both had chosen Mary had chosen what was better.

The point of this story is not that we shouldn’t work, but that there is a time for everything, and there are occasions when we should rest, preferably in Jesus. However, many of us don’t seem to be able to put it into practice. I have urged you once before to rest (see Rest a While: https://youtu.be/B4auDrpE4kQ), and I am going to urge you once again to do so, because as mathematician and theologian Blaise Pascal once said, busyness sends more people to hell than unbelief. I agree.

I am a very busy person, and I have this dreadful habit of piling on more stuff onto an already loaded plate, but I have now made it a rule to take a day off each week regardless of the work on hand. It used to feel weird doing nothing, but now I actually look forward to these days BECAUSE I do nothing. I sleep, and I found Scriptural validation for it too. The psalmist declared: “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalms 127:2). 

Sleep is a great restorative, and we will probably lead healthier and longer lives if we get enough of it. This is between 7-9 hours, regardless of what people might claim. If you are a hard working person, don’t feel guilty if you have a full 9 hours! You will be able to work better. Sleep also relieves stress, and if you are unable to sleep, it is probably because you are stressed. Why are you stressed? Because you are worrying about what’s going to happen the following day.

Hey, what’s the point worrying? Your problems are not going to disappear because you worry, ya? Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34). If this sounded Zen — how can tomorrow worry about itself? — it simply means that if Jesus took us through today, he will take us through tomorrow too. So let us not think about what is going to happen when the sun breaks. We got through today, we will get through tomorrow as well.

Sleep well tonight. And, oh, on that day of rest, spend some of it with Jesus, will you?