Mark’s gospel describes what must have been one of the busiest days in Jesus’ ministry (Mk. 1:21-34). Jesus taught in the synagogue. He cast an unclean spirit out of a man. He immediately left the synagogue and went to Peter’s house. Peter’s mother was sick with a fever and Jesus healed her. News spread. And even though the sun had already set, great crowds of sick, disabled, and demon-possessed came to Jesus for healing.
Jesus got up very early the next morning to spend time with his Father in prayer. His disciples eventually found him and let him know that the crowds were looking for him. There were others who needed be healed. But interestingly enough Jesus said “no.” He had other villages to visit and other purposes to fulfill.
It seems to me that there is a great lesson here for us as Jesus’ followers. Sometimes we need to say “no.” We need to maintain white space on our calendar. We need to carve out time to think, reflect, pray, and meditate. We need to spend time with our heavenly Father. We need to say “no” to some good things so that we can say “yes” to the best things.
I am an only child. And I have a very high sense of duty. And I grew up in a ministry-minded home where you did what needed to be done – no matter what. It is easy for me to feel guilty when I am not able to take on an additional task. But I am learning (slowly) to distinguish between guilt and regret. I feel guilt when I transgress God’s laws. I feel regret when I am unable to help in a given situation. There is a big difference between the two.
The reality is that I am a creature and that means I have limits. To pretend that I can do everything is to arrogantly assume the place of God. If Jesus needed to break away, who are you and I to think we can keep going 24/7?
Photo by Brittney Bush Bolla