This question was asked in a security forum and I thought my reply worthwhile to add here.
Three things come to mind:
1. Company journey: If your employees know how hard you work, see you working alongside them, and you share your company journey with them, they will not begrudge you having nice things. If your employees are treated fairly, they will celebrate with you that you have achieved some success and they by their efforts as well are helping make the company successful. And why wouldn’t the boss want the best crew possible – HIS – working on his home?
2. Company culture: If you have employees who would begrudge your success, is this really an employee you want working for you at all? If you have this type of employee, I would argue that they should be let go immediately as they would be toxic to the company culture in other many areas.
3. Separation of Interests: My feeling is that you should absolutely personally pay your company to have work done. It might feel like like paying yourself, but it allows you to keep the interests of the company separate from the interests of the ownership. Lots of company owners play loosey-goosey with having their employees do work on their personal projects. As a C-Corporation, my understanding is that this is unethical – I’ll leave the legality of it to the lawyers. I’m not sure how this works with S-Corp or LLCs.
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.
They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
This gospel is kind of a double feature. We have part 1 where Jesus and the disciples are walking together and Jesus is teaching them. Part 2 has the disciples arguing over who is the greatest among them. I’m going to focus on the second part, but I just want to say one thing about this part 1 first.
Part 1 – Gobblygook to Gospel
Jesus is saying some pretty difficult things on the walk through Galilee. And the disciples don’t understand. How often have you heard a teacher say something that you didn’t understand? Does it sound like gobbleygook ro perhaps Charlie Brown’s teacher?
How about your parents? I’m not speaking of not wanting to listen to your parents here – but when they say a word you don’t comprehend or speak about a difficult subject. When you don’t understand something, the worst thing you can do is not as questions. Sometimes, you are afraid of looking stupid or you get embarrassed. But I guarantee you, that if you don’t understand something, most of the rest of your kids around you have similar questions. Be brave and be the one who wants to understand what is going on and clarify the message. Just as Jesus wanted his disciples to understand, all of you teachers are there because they want you to learn.
Part 2 – The Greatest On their walk through Galilee, the disciples were arguing over who was the greatest amongst them. Remember, a few lessons ago, Jesus had sent them out in pairs to perform miracles in His name. I can imagine their arguments.
“I mended a broken leg”
“Well, I cured the man with Leprosy”
“That’s all? I replenished a well that had gone dry”
“I outdid you all – I healed a whole sick family”
It would have been a series of oneupmanship, where each person is trying to be better than the previous. It doesn’t sound like a very giving attitude – each disciple was trying to somehow diminish the other to enhance your own grandeur.
In many places in the world, people try to identify who is the greatest. Who are some of the Greatests that you know of?
Albert Einstein, some say, was the smartest guy around.
Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player. Or is it now LeBron James?
David Beckham is the greatest soccer player. Or maybe Ronaldo?
Who are some of your favorite Greatests?
They even have a funny name for this – GOAT. Does anyone know what that means? GOAT – Greatest Of All Time.
But you notice, as soon as you have a new GOAT, someone else is now lesser? The guy who used to be THE GREATEST, is now #2. And everyone down the line is diminished, because somehow they are not as great as the #1.
I don’t think God wants us to work this way. In economics, this is called a Zero-Sum-Game. One winner, other losers. I think the way God wants us to work is to try to be the Greatest You Can Be. The person who gives of himself to lift others up. The person who helps others grow; who guides them from places of darkness to places of light. He says – be a servant to be first. That is Great.
Jesus then brought forth a child. and said “whoever receives this child, receives Me”. We are supposed to give of ourselves to those less capable – guide them in their paths. How does this work if you are already a kid? Well – find littler kids and see how you can help them. Be a good friend. Look to see how you can serve them and help them grow – In knowledge – In strength – In Faith.
Jesus wants our path to always try to be the Greatest – not so we can improve our own standing, but to raise up those around us. To make them be the best they can be.
Remember how we were speaking earlier about the Greatest in each category. One of my greatest is a scientist named George Washington Carver. He found more than 100 things you could do with peanuts, back in the 1800s. There is a nice quote attributed to him.
“When I was young, I said to God, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the universe.’ But God answered, ‘That knowledge is for me alone.’ So I said, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.’ Then God said, ‘Well George, that’s more nearly your size.’ And he told me.”
– George Washington Carver
If you want to be the Greatest in God’s kingdom, learn to be the servant of all. Leverage your strengths to be the person who:
Gives of himself to lift others up
Helps others grow in their faith and personal strengths.
Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending
to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life,
while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said,
“For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Savior | Superhero | Something else | Shock | Skedaddled | Simon Peter | Steadfast in Truth
In the past few weeks, we have been speaking about Jesus attracting a crowd around him. They were attracted because they were looking for something. What were they looking for? Pretty simple:
What do you think the Jewish people were looking for in a Savior/Messiah?
Well, they wanted to crown him king and have him overthrow their oppressors, the Romans.. They wanted a military/political hero like Joshua. And, as it turns out Jesus’s name originates from a rendition of the Hebrew Yeshua, which is how they said Joshua.
Who remembers what Joshua did?
Led people out of wilderness
Overthrew all of the land of Israel for the 12 tribes
Sounds like a superhero to me! Lets go back to what recently happened with Jesus.
Jesus cured a man crippled for 38 years
He said he had the power over life and death
He fed 500 from 5 loaves and 2 fish
He walked on water
He said he had bread that would fill them forever
If I were looking for a superhero to help me overthrow the Romans, Jesus has all the credentials. Imagine, your army is fighting another army. But anyone on your side who gets hurt can now be healed. Anyone killed, brought back to life. No worries about bringing food – just bring the kid with 5 loaves and 2 fish and the army is good for food. Need to run away? Just walk across the water where your enemy cannot follow. This guy was the superhero of all superheros! Better than Spiderman, better than Superman! This is who they were expecting for the Nessiah – the guy who would save them!
But after showing all of these amazing “powers”, what did Jesus do?
He told them he was something else entirely. He said he was the bread of life. He said that he was one with the Father. That he had the keys to everlasting life. And to gain eternal left we had to eat of his body and drink of his blood. He also told us that the Son of Man would suffer and die before he came again in his glory. This was not the superhero talk the people wanted.
Jesus started off this gospel saying his teachings were hard – really hard. So hard, in fact, that the people were shocked. Jesus just told them to be saved they needed to “eat my body and drink my blood” to be saved.
DRINK WHAT? EAT WHAT?
That’s crazy talk! And more – Jesus didn’t want to be king?!?! Neither of these were what the Jews wanted in their Savior. They wanted a Super-Savior to lead them. And what do people do when something doesn’t meet their expectations?
Imagine – a huge crowd shows up for a concert, expecting an earth-shattering rock and roll band something bigger than the Rolling Stones. The crowd was expecting lights, thundering sound, and spectacle. Instead Jesus pulls out a Ukulele and starts strumming Somewhere over the rainbow.
This was not what the crowds were here for. Just imagine everyone streaming towards the exits. Skedaddled means to “depart quickly”. Imagine an entire amphitheatre empty in 5 minutes.
Jesus, on stage, finishes his song and looks at the empty stadium. He then looks back at his bandmates, the 12 disciples, and asks, “Will you leave too?” Simon Peter answers for all of them. Let’s look back at the text again here:
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Simon Peter nails it! Even Jesus was surprised by this answer. Jesus says that the Father revealed this to Simon Peter.
What is the lesson we take away from this?
Well – sometimes the truth isn’t easy. But when you learn truth, you need to be strong in your belief of it. You need to be steadfast in your defense of it. Simon Peter was called the ROCK because he would steadfast in his defense of Jesus’ message in time to come.
There are going to be times in your life where people are going to challenge what you know to be true. Some people are going to say “Look how many people have left the Church, how can it be true?” What Simon-Peter shows us today is that we regardless of how the crowd is skedaddling, we have to be steadfast in our beliefs, because only Jesus has the “words of everlasting life”
Because life will challenge our beliefs. People will not want to be around us because of what we profess. We too, need to be steadfast – a ROCK for Christ.
The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said,
“I am the bread that came down from heaven, ”
and they said,
“Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph?
Do we not know his father and mother?
Then how can he say,
‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Stop murmuring among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God.
Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
Complain | Crowds | Courage | Convictions | Clarifies | Claim | Control God | Come to Jesus
Does it feel like we have read this exact story for the past few weeks? We keep coming back to Jesus being the “bread of life” for the world. We started out with Jesus feeding the crowd with the loaves and fish. Then the crowd followed him, because they wanted more from this guy who could create something from nothing. Remember – they wanted to crown him king which Jesus refused. Now, that they see Jesus is not what they envisioned the Messiah to be, they start to turn on him. Jesus clarifies his mission and claims His right as the one who came to save us through His crucifixion and the cross.
Do you ever notice that people are different when they are in groups than they might be individually? Especially when discontent is rising. The crowd was not happy already because Jesus refused to become their king. Now, someone in the crowd popped up and brought up the fact that they knew Jesus as he grew up – and that they knew his father and mother. It probably made this person feel powerful 0 knowing something that might make Jesus seem less important. And when a group of people starts grumbling and complaining in this way, it only grows.
Courage of your Convictions
It takes a good deal of bravery for someone to stand up to a crowd like this, from inside the crowd. Whenever I think of standing up against a crowd, I think of a story I read once of Alexander Hamilton, facing a mob in the dead of night, set on tar and feathering a man. The mob could have easily turned on Hamilton, but he stood firm in his convictions. Ultimately, he was able to delay the crowd from entering the building long enough for the man to escape.
Notice, we don’t hear of any actions by the disciples and anyone else stepping up to defend Jesus. Remember, many of these folks saw miracles of healing themselves. Most ate at the feeding of the 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Others experienced when Jesus cast demons out of people. If anyone had stepped up, this story might have gone very differently.
So Jesus, hearing the growing discontent of the crowd, takes their grumbling and complaining on head first.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him”
“Whoever believes has eternal life”
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven”
By standing up to the crowd and proclaiming his convictions and message again, Jesus stifles the mumbling.
Jesus Clarifies His Claims
Specifically, with the statements above, Jesus clarifies his claims to be the Messiah. He also speak of how His way will not be the way that we want. Jesus’ way will not be specified by how the crowd wants him to act. It will be in a way that shall show the Father’s will.
We don’t Control God
This is important. We don’t control God. God is eternally consistent. God is the great I Am. Too often, we want God to be a certain way. How many times do we say this is how I believe God should be? We say things like.
I believe God is Love.
I believe God is Nice.
I believe God doesn’t judge us.
I believe God wants us to be happy.
We want a Burger King Style God. But we can’t have Him our way, like we might a hamburger. We can’t hold the ketchup and have extra mayo.
Come to Jesus
What God tells us is this:
“Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him, comes to me”
Pretty simple. Be humble and realize, we aren’t God. Listen to His word in the inspired Word of God – the Bible and learn from His teachings. And ultimately, Come to Jesus.
As Jesus shows in today’s Gospel, He is not at all about what we want Him to be. He is one with God the Father. He came in human form to save us from our sins. He says whoever eats of the living bread that came down from heaven, will live forever. He tells us exactly who He is and he wants us to come to Him.
And by coming to Jesus, we accept the gift He has given us through His Crucifixion on the Cross.
That’s a great way to end this lesson. Our directions from Jesus are clear.
Listen to His word – by reading the Bible.
Learn from His teachings – by studying his Word.
Come to Jesus – just as we are.
Accept His GIFT of salvation – bought on the cross.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
So they said to him, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”
So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them,”I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
Love of Food | Lasagna | Food never Lasts | Loaves to get Attention | Looking for Jesus | Food that Forever Lasts
Love of Food
Who here has ever walked into a kitchen and smelled something cooking and had their stomachs growl? (ask what the kids smelled) The other day I walked outside my favorite local bakery, Bread & Cie, and the delicious smells almost pulled me inside!
Who here has a favorite meal that they always love to eat? (ask the kids for their answers) In my case that is an easy answer……Lasagna.
Big wide noodles. My own home-made sauce. Parmesan, Mozzarella, and Ricotta. Lots of extra fennel thrown in. Layers of fresh spinach cooked in. Man – it just makes my mouth water thinking about it.
Food never Lasts
So when we think about what we hunger for, the obvious answers is always food. Every few hours we want to eat something. If you are rich, you still get hungry at meal times. And I’ve read of people who are very, very poor, where hunger is described like an ache in their belly that never goes away.
Regardless, hunger for food is a constant in each and everyone of your lives. And no matter how much we eat at any meal, it never lasts. We always long for more to eat.
Loaves to get Attention
Jesus said to those people who followed him “you are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.” Jesus performed the miracle of the feeding of the 5000, not because it was paramount for him to provide food, but because He knew that feeding them would get their attention. Just like the smell of KFC or of Lasagne grabs your attention, Jesus wanted to grab their attention long enough that he could teach them about what they really needed in their lives.
Looking for Jesus
This is really what Jesus wants from us. He wants our attention. He wants us to be looking for Him. But this search should not be something that happens and when we find Jesus, we move on to the next thing. Jesus wants us to hunger for Him and His word. He wants us to have that ache in our belly to know more about His teachings. Just like after a meal, we might be satisfied for a short time, we know we will soon enough get hungry again. And truly, how terrible would it be if after I ate Lasagne, I was forever full – never to be hungry again?
We should think of Jesus’ teachings a bit like this. Every lesson we learn about His word, we might have our spiritual hunger satisfied for a short time. Hopefully, after Church, you think about the teachings a bit and let it percolate in your brain. Hopefully – sometimes it gives you a few “ah-ha” moments where it brings you closer to a better understanding of your faith. But what Jesus wants is that we are hungry for His word the next time we go to church. And the next time we learn more about God. And the next. and the next. There is so much to learn from the Word of God, that we can never be filled.
Food that Forever Lasts
So what do we make out of this last sentence in the said by Jesus? “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
Unlike hunger for food and hunger for learning, Jesus is speaking about the big hole in our lives. The hunger and the thirst in each of us that only the divine God can fill it. This hole is where we need God to dwell personally with us. This is where we hunger for meaning for our lives and thirst for a connection to something bigger than our lives. This something is God – Jesus, God in human form. He is the bread of life, whose sacrifice for our sins gives eternal meaning to our lives and provides us with a personal connection with the Father. Jesus is the answer to filling this emptiness that we hunger and thirst for.
Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.
Feeding 5000 | Fact | Four Gospels | never Forgotten | Flock | Face problems | Funds | Friends | Food | Five Loaves | 2 Fish | Feed | Filled | Fragments | Faith | Focused on wrong things!
Crackers and Fish
If we review the response from psalm 145:10-18, we have a pretty good overview of the gospel.
The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
This gospel is about a miracle Jesus performed.
Plain and Simple.
Feeding 5000 & No Food
Imagine – you are at church with 5000 families and everyone is hungry. No one has eaten breakfast. People are getting hangry (Hungry+Angry). Andrew (the disciple of Jesus, not my 8 year old) makes an announcement and says, “If anyone has any food, can they step up to the front of the church?”
Friend with Five Loaves & 2 Fish
So my son Thomas – all of 6 years old – looks down and sees that he has a bag of a few goldfish crackers that his mom has given him. So he brings them up to the front. Everyone who sees his bag of goldfish laughs – not because they are mean, but because they know there is no way this could feed everyone. But Jesus doesn’t laugh. He gives Thomas a hug and says thank you. Then he asks Thomas to pray with Him and give Thanks to their Father in Heaven for Thomas’ gift.
Feeding the Flock
Jesus then walks around the Church, reaches into his bag, and gives everyone two handfuls of goldfish. He does this for everyone, reaching into the small bag, over and over, giving everyone goldfish, until everyone’s stomach is filled. Then they collect all the fragments of what people had dropped of their goldfish lying on the floor of the church and found they had 12 full bags of goldfish left over.
Fantastic – not to be Forgotten
Just imagine how amazing that would be. Would you remember it? Of course you would! And I bet you would tell this story over and over and over.
Jesus’s story was so incredible that all FOUR gospel writers wrote about this event. It was so amazing, the crowd wanted to force him to be their King in Jerusalem. They had seen Jesus perform other miracles, but with everyone saw this at the same time. It was awesome!
Facing Facts and Faith
This feeding of the 5000 was an honest to God miracle. During the course of Jesus’ life, he used miracles to show his power and let people know that what he said was true. As John tells us later in his Gospel:
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
There were lots of miracles Jesus performed. Curing sick and crippled people. Turning water into wine. Waling on water. Casting out demons. These were witnessed by many people during Jesus’ life. So much so that we can be certain of the fact that they happened, and let our faith be strengthened by it.
Focus on the Father
But, Jesus wanted us to focus on the right things and lived his life to demonstrate how we should live. After this miracle, many in the crowd wanted to march to Jerusalem to declare Jesus King. And he was, so why didn’t Jesus take them up on this? After all, as God, isn’t he King already?
Of course, but do you remember the story of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the desert? Satan had already offered to make Jesus King – and Jesus rejected Satan’s offer. Jesus wanted to teach us to focus our attention of the Father.
Choose God First
The miracles Jesus performed were only to get our attention! Why?
Because our attentions are driven by things of this world!
Are we hungry? We need food.
Are we sick or hurt? We need a physical cure.
Are we thirsty (or drinky as my son Thomas says)? We need water.
Are we lonely? We need companionship.
Are we poor? We need money.
Are we in trouble? We focus on worldly solutions.
This is actually the lesson Jesus wants us to pay attention to. He wants us to face our problems, first, by focusing our attentions on God the Father. Because the biggest problem we have to come to grips with is that we are a fallen people. We need salvation. And if we look to a worldly solution to solve this, we will fail. If we practice looking first to the Father for help for our little problems, when it comes to asking Christ for his forgiveness for our sins, Jesus knows we’ll come to the right place – Him.
The apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
This gospel is about personal restoration and sometimes working extra even when you are tired, because it is required. Because we don’t have control when opportunities arise and it is important that we step up to take advantage of them.
Just before this reading, we had Jesus sending out his disciples in pairs (see my last post – “The Buddy System”) to proclaim Jesus’ message to nearby cities. After having gone out to these cities, the 12 disciples came back to where Jesus was – feeling pretty good about themselves, I would imagine.
Think about it – Jesus had just given them a task to go out and teach. They had done what he had said and had their own news to report. Imagine being able to come back to Jesus and say things like:
“There were many people who believed your message in Cana!”
“We were able to heal a person with a broken leg is Capernum!”
“People welcomed us into their home in Tiberias!”
Just like a mother would be proud if she asked her child to do something difficult, Jesus was proud of his disciples and wanted to hear what they had accomplished. Similarly, right now I’m on vacation from being in my office. When I get back to the office, I want to know what my employees have done. And if they have done good work – they will report to me of their accomplishments.
This about this in your life – when you complete a project – does it make you proud? Don’t you feel good that you accomplished something? It should. But if was hard work, you often want to rest once you are done.
After reporting to Jesus all they had accomplished, all they had done, and completing the long trips to these cities and back, I imagine all of the disciples wanted to take a deep breath and relax for a bit. They wanted to rest to have their energy restored.
God told us early on in Genesis that we should do this as well. He tells us to only work 6 days a week and then rest on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is the day that he wants us to restore ourselves and also to think about Him. But rest isn’t solely limited to the Sabbath. Sometimes after working really hard to accomplish a goal, we need rest to recharge our batteries. Jesus knew this as well.
To get away, Jesus and his disciples decided to take a boat ride to “a deserted place”. They thought this would be a vacation away from it all. But no. The people who heard Jesus wanted to hear more. I imagine that many of the people the disciples had visited in the far away cities wanted to see who this “master” the disciples had been talking about was. So even as they got to their place of rest, lots of people found out where Jesus was and wanted to hear more.
When Jesus saw these “vast crowd”, he reconsidered his and his disciples need for rest. The gospel says “they were like sheep without a shepherd”. Jesus saw they needed his message more than he needed rest. Even if he was tired, he saw had work to do.
For the last 10 years of his life, every email that my own father would send me ended with a quote from a book “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. The quote was:
“Opportunities Multiple As They are Seized”
Jesus knew that this vast crowd – thousands of people, the gospels tell us – had hearts that needed to hear his teaching. This was a great opportunity. It wouldn’t have been wrong for Jesus and the disciples to rest at this time, but Jesus took the role of being a servant leader. Instead of wasting the opportunity and thinking only of his and his disciples need for rest, Jesus rallied his energy and made the decision to teach people who needed it. This helped spread the gospel to allow many people to believe more in him.
This is exactly what Jesus shows us in terms of being a servant leader. Many times it is easy to say we need a break or we have already done enough. When God opens up opportunities to serve others, we should rally our energies to the task. By serving people, we help bring God’s kingdom here on earth a little closer.