23/7/06 Trinity 6/Proper 11 - Mark 6:30-34,53-56
MK 6:30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. [ feeding of 5,000 walking on water ]
MK 6:53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went--into villages, towns or countryside--they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.
Is there anyone here who doesn't feel busy? That you've not got enough time to everything you want to do?
I came across a prayer for people like us;
"O Lord! thou knowest how busy I must be this day: if I forget thee, do not thou forget me."
It was written by Sir Jacob Astley, a 15th Century British Squire.
So, over 500 years ago people still felt busy.
Going back 2,00 years in today's gospel Jesus was busy. I think we can learn from him. We can do this by asking the question WWJD? What would Jesus do?
I would like us to look at three things that Jesus did that we can do to help us.
Jesus' work involved preaching and helping people. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Jesus cared about the people to he taught them about God. Having met their spiritual needs he then met their physical needs by feeding them v.39-44.
Jesus cared about his disciples. They were out in a boat on the Sea of Galilee so he walked out to them to help them v 47-51.
Jesus then went to the marketplaces, verse 56. These were the places where most people would congregate and, therfore, where Jesus would teach. When they heard he was there people would bring the sick to be healed. People who trusted in Jesus, as opposed to his townsfolk, who we read about two weeks ago, mark 6:1-13.
Jesus was never too busy to do the work of God. To care for people by teaching and healing. We may think of "work" as something that we get paid for but God also calls and equips us to work for him. We are all called to minister for him.
Someone once said, "We are always too busy for our children; we never give them the time or interest they deserve. We lavish gifts upon them; but the most precious gift, our personal association, which means so much to them, we give grudgingly."
Do you know who? Mark Twain, 1835-1910.
Let us be busy in serving God but also spend time in...
Jesus tried to do this with his disciples. Verse 31, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
Sometimes we need to get away. This is very appropriate as we approach the summer holidays. We were not created by God to be busy all the time. We need rest. Sometimes with those who are close to us. Jesus was trying to escape the crowds with his disciples. We might like to go away on holiday with family and friends. Holidays are a gift from God!
Have you ever heard of someone who, on their death-bed, said they had not spent enough time at work?
Today's reading misses out the feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus walking on water to help the disciples who were on a boat in a storm. In between, verse 46, we read that Jesus went to a mountain to pray.
Prayer is a wonderful antidote to, and preparation for, busy-ness.
"The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in." C.S. Lewis.
Jesus prayed before he walked on the water, taught people and healed the sick. I don't think that is a coincidence. If we want to minister for God it must be accompanied by prayer.
We can pray any where and at anytime. Sometimes it can be helpful to have somewhere where we will not be disturbed. Jesus chose a mountain. For us it can be a church, a park, a room somewhere. When I used to have a proper job I would arrive early for work and pray in my office. At lunch time I would go to a nearby church, or when I was in Peterborough to the cathedral which was nearby.
We all need to achieve a balance. Of working, not only to pay the bills but also working for God and helping others. Of resting to recharge our batteries, to spend time with our family and friends. Of praying. Speaking with God. Bringing him our concerns and listening to him.
I pray that we will all be able to imitate Jesus and getting a balance between our work, rest and pray. Especially we pray for the parents and godarents of Mitchell and Amy as they try to lead them into the ways of Jesus.
Obviously this takes up the Mars advert "A mars a day helps you work, rest and pray". Mars bars, or mini-mars bars could always be given out to the congregation/children.