You have heard it said, your body is a temple. I say, your body is a machine. Just like a car we require fuel. Just like a machine we have tasks and objectives our body can accomplish. Like a computer we have a hard drive that holds and keeps all our important data. We also have RAM, memory meant to be used for the moment but not always kept. (For example, try to remember what you were doing last Tuesday at 1:15pm. Not that easy? That's because it is RAM.) Like a machine we are liable to break down every now and again.
We are a very well built machine. If we take care of ourselves we can live 80, 90, maybe 100 years. Can you say the same for your Ford or Chevy? Or can you say that for your PC or Apple computer? Of course, that is if we take care of ourselves. As humans we have to realize we have limitations. We cannot be all things to all people. We have to realize, before we get there, when we are at the point of lifting something too heavy for us, or at the edge of burn-out. We cannot just be focused on our mission, sometimes we need to take time and be holy.
When Jesus was in Capernaum he went Andrew and Simon's house. After healing Simon's mother-in-law the flood gates opened and people from all around brought the sick and possessed to Jesus.
It is in this scene we get a very strong idea of Jesus' work ethic:
First, Jesus is not hindered by a 9-5 mentality. The sun has set. The previous day has ended but he decides to heal. People are coming to the door and he doesn't turn them away. God's work does not happen on a schedule. While we come here every Sunday at 11am, life continues 24/7. There are those in need at two in the afternoon as well as three in the morning. We should realize we can be called into action at any time too. When we feel that urge deep in our gut to do something we are not in the place to say, “It is not the right time.” We are mistaken if we think God is working from our schedules. We are disciples and we are on God's clock.
Second, Jesus was not all things to all people. I know that is hard to believe. We assume Jesus had the ability to teach a lesson, heal a leper, and cook breakfast all at the same time. Maybe he did have the ability, but there are no scriptures pointing to him over extending himself in that way. He lived a human life, and as a human, had limits. Like I said earlier, we are a machine. If we over extend our abilities we can burn-out. As important as the work is, God does not want us to break. We are of no use if we are broken. So, when Jesus heals at Simon and Andrew's house he heals many, but not all. I see it as Jesus was able to place limits on his ability. It wasn't whether he could heal everyone who showed up; it was about doing God's work in a way he could return to it later.
Finally, he took time for himself to reflect and pray. He didn't tell anyone where he was going because it was none of their business. Part of mission is healing, reflection and praying. So many get caught up on the go and do, and go and give, they forget the go and heal. Our body and mind cannot handle constantly doing work. It doesn't matter if the work is the project at the office or the call of God. Everyone needs rest. It is nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about. It is also nothing we should reason away.
I wish Simon Peter had paid more attention to what Jesus was doing and not just what he was saying. Simon was the rock. He was the enthusiastic one. He was the guy who wanted to answer first when Jesus had a question. I bet he worked so hard for Jesus. He wanted to get things going. He wanted to do the work. In Mark 1 he can't even wait for Jesus to finish praying. He goes out searching for him even though he has no idea where he went. See, as smart as this guy was, often times, he just doesn't understand. Throughout the scripture Jesus sets the example of not just doing but waiting.
Life is like the ebb and flow of the tide. Maybe our tide is like the gentle lapping of the waters against the shore, or maybe our tide is the high waves before an approaching hurricane. Either way, there are moments of rest built into our life. There are moments of waiting. Maybe we are waiting for the gentle welcome of something new, or maybe we are waiting for a bold crash in our lives: either way, we have those moments to prepare, heal, and pray.
I don't buy many DVDs. The few I do buy speak to me about the human spirit. One of the DVDs I own is Schindler's List. Oscar Schindler worked so hard to save as many lives as possible during World War II. He used his whole life savings to purchase Jews. He wanted to keep them from the concentration camps. Near the end of the movie Schindler begins to look at the possessions he has left. He comments that his coat could have saved one. His car could have saved three. At the end, he didn't feel he did enough. The truth is, we can never do enough. We can't fight the whole war by ourselves. We can't do everything. We need to realize even the people who risk their life to do what is right, like Oscar Schindler, can't do everything. Even Jesus, didn't do everything.
Our job, while on this earth, is to do the best we can do. Our best might require late hours; it might require sacrifice. It should never requires burnout.