“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, as well as a lack of energy, mental resources, and emotional fuel. We get tired, worn down, and empty, and need rest, recuperation, and restoration, and so Jesus took naps.
In Matthew 8:24, we find Jesus with His disciples getting into a ship 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.
We all so often think about Jesus as he came to the well of Sychar in John 4. You and I know that’s where He met the woman at the well and she met Him. Scripture says He was weary in his journey. Jesus experienced what all of us experience.
It’s not a matter of just getting physically tired but we can get drained emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Some of those emptiness feelings are worse than any physical limitations we may encounter. 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 literally can drain you – a moment for which you can’t prepare, a moment you can’t envision happening. While God knew what was on the horizon, you have no idea what was around the corner 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 do 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. Pay attention to them. Verse 13 says that He departed by ship 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. That would be true for every one of us.
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 care and 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 and upset because the pastor was taking a day off. 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 trying to help us understand that every one of us live in a world of limitations that may come about because we do not know and our mental faculties are not as extensive as they need to be, or because we are just empty emotionally and find it impossible to give any more sensitivity and care or maybe it’s in our resources and maybe at times it’s physically.
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 that car will probably buck a few times and you’ll find yourself sitting on the side of the road and wondering what to do then. That also 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.
Just remember the encouraging words from the senior adult sweatshirt, “Jesus Took Naps.”
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.