Americans have a problem: we are far too focused on accomplishment. We measure our worth by what we have done or made, not on
who we have become as people. But all through the Bible, God continues to tell us that who we are is far more important than what we just did. And in Mark 6:30-32, Jesus moves the conversation away from outward accomplishment to inner peace and reflection. What can we learn from this?
The disciples "returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught." In Western culture, this is the time for a lot of back-slapping, congratulatory talk and plans for even greater accomplishments next time. But here, I don't see Jesus congratulating the disciples for their work, or rejoicing about how well they understood and passed along his teachings.
Instead, he tells them to slow down, take some time off, and rest awhile. What's up with this? For one thing, when we are most self-congratulatory, we are vulnerable to Satan's negative attacks. Comparing our accomplishments to someone else's (something else Jesus discouraged) leads to false images of our own abilities, either good or bad. But when we're tired from accomplishment -- or even still on a high from something we think went well -- it's time to stop and reflect where the good things came from, and give thanks for what happened. It's also time to stop and consider where God may have been working that we didn't see, and could have done better at helping someone else see.
We can get worn out "working for God" in ways that steal our time to reflect on how God is working on us. The Lord wants to continue to re-form our hearts, and we can only cooperate with him when we are stopping to let him work. There's a saying "Greater is the work the Lord is doing in you, than through you; but the more work he does in you, the greater the works he can do through you." That's well worth considering as we think about how we can serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
Are you ready for a break with Jesus?