FIRST-PERSON: Jesus took naps

JACKSON, Miss. (BP) -- "Jesus took naps."

That was the message on a sweatshirt worn by a senior adult at a gathering at one of our churches. So pointed, so provoking, so simple -- and so true.

Jesus, who was fully God robed in flesh, experienced the drain of resources that all of us have encountered from time to time. We get tired and need rest, recuperation and restoration.

In Matthew 8:24, we find Jesus with His disciples getting into a boat to go across to the other side of the sea, and there are these poignant words: "And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep."

The "He" is Jesus.

It had been a busy and no doubt strenuous day. Jesus found a place to rest and get refueled and be ready to go again. What a lesson to be learned by all of us.

It's not a matter of just getting physically tired but we can get drained emotionally, mentally, spiritually. At times, maybe sitting in a meeting, or talking to someone on the phone, or hearing of a crisis in someone's life, suddenly you're pulled into a moment that can drain you -- a moment for which you can't prepare, a moment you can't envision happening. While God knows what is on the horizon, you have no idea what is about to occur, and it takes everything out of you and you need to recoup. Just remember, Jesus took naps. I'm not by any means saying we ought to drag through life doing nothing and snoozing all the time, but we certainly need to listen to the Lord as He speaks to us and follow His example.

Think about that as you hear the words of Jesus in Matthew 14:13 and 23. Verse 13 says that He departed by boat to a desert place apart, and then in verse 23 when He sent the multitude away, He went up into a mountain apart. Many have suggested that if we don't come apart for a time of refreshing, a time of prayer, a time of clarity of thinking -- if we don't come apart -- we will come apart.

It's interesting how we somehow imagine that if we really walk with God, we are supermen and superwomen and never need a time of rest and reflection. We put that kind of aura around people who are in positions of leadership or service of the church and think they ought to give over and above forever and ever until there's nothing left, and sometimes they do.

I often think about the woman who came by to see the pastor only to be told by his secretary that it was his day off. The woman who stopped by was somewhat perturbed. Later she confronted the pastor about his day off and said to him, "The devil doesn't take a day off." To which the pastor politely and gently said, "And that's why he's the devil."

The Bible is clear in helping us understand that each of us lives in a world of limitations, where our mental faculties may not be as extensive as they need to be, or we are just empty emotionally or physically and find it impossible to give any more sensitivity and care.

It's not wise for any of us to run on empty for very long. If you try that in your car, just down the road as you begin to go up a slight incline it will probably buck a few times and you'll find yourself sitting on the side of the road wondering what to do.

That can happen to any of us personally. So today, you don't have to take the whole day off but find moments during the day when you can come apart, rest, reflect and be renewed and face the rest of the day.

Jim Futral is executive director-treasurer of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board. This column first appeared at his Directions blog, www.mbcb.org/directions.
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