I am fascinated by today’s Gospel as we heard it alongside the reading from Jeremiah. It seems appropriate today to hear Jesus talking to his disciples about taking ‘time out’ and in Jeremiah God speaking about the people of God being fruitful and multiplying.
Amidst all the change and chaos which we have lived through over the past 18 months which has left most of us longing for a little ‘time out’ and if we stopped there in the reading that might be our focus, but we hear just afterwards that Jesus, having gone away on the boat, finds when he arrives at the shore there are so many people in need already there.
I think Jesus may have been forgiven by most people for not getting off the boat, or for telling people to come back tomorrow – yet we know that this is not what Jesus does, rather the response Jesus gives is compassion. Compassion for people who have no guidance, or direction, sheep without a shepherd.
It is easy to think this is a Vicar conversation about compassion and meeting people’s needs with little time out – but I don’t believe that this is true, this is not an incident just applicable to Church leaders.
I think this is a challenge for every one of us as Christian Disciples.
The time pressure felt in our Gospel, is felt by all of the disciples as well as Jesus, and this is something we can all relate to.
In our everyday lives, all of us have this balance to find where we gain enough spiritual rest to sustain us as we serve and have compassion for all those around us.
It is not in most of our nature to look after ourselves first but sometimes, if it is taking in so that we can give out, it is the right thing to do.
A little like when on a plane (you may have to think back quite a while) when you hear the safety briefing which reminds you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others with theirs.
For each of us then, we need to work out what is our spiritual ‘oxygen mask’ that will give us the strength to then help others find theirs.