But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Today, I am tired. Honestly, I really didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. I would have been happy to spend the morning reading in bed and taking a nap as I desired. My whole body is tired this day. I’m thinking that it just needs a little down time.
As for many of you, the past week has been overfull. Add to this, I woke up Christmas morning at 3 AM with a cramping tummy and not feeling well. I spent the next five hours on the bathroom floor, contemplating how I was going to get myself ready for church. I drug myself there and while I was no where near the top of my game, we celebrated Jesus’ birth. Two family Christmas celebrations later, I was wiped out.
I’m feeling much better. But sometimes, our bodies need a bit more rest. I didn’t set an alarm this morning. I decided to let my body wake up when it was ready. It deserved it.
There’s a story about a wealthy American businessman who wanted to climb Mount Everest. I’ll try to recall the events. The window in which people can do this in the spring is quite narrow. Because of business dealings, his planned trip was near the end of this window. Add to this, a storm was predicted that would make the ascent even more difficult.
The American man hired the best team possible to help him make the climb. This included a guide as well as excellent local Sherpa’s, native men who are accustomed to the higher elevation. They are the hard-working guys who work on getting the necessary supplies to the various base camps along the way.
With the storm approaching, the American instructed his hired guide and Sherpas that they would go further each day than initially planned for to ensure his reaching the peak. For three days, the crew worked especially hard, through difficult weather. They were making good progress.
One day, the sun came out and the weather was perfect for climbing. The American was surprised when the Sherpas were not busy preparing for departure. He approached the guide, angry, that the natives were not taking his ascent seriously. He demanded to know what the problem was. The guide simply told him the Sherpas refused to journey that day.
The American approached the head Sherpa, wanting to know what the problem was. If they needed more money, he would accommodate. He desperately wanted to reach the peak. This was the year he was going to cross “climbing Mount Everest” off his bucket list. The head Sherpa quietly told the businessman that he and his friends would not be leaving from camp that day. When the American demanded an explanation, the head Sherpa told him in broken English that they had been pushing and moving so fast the three previous days that they needed a day for their souls to catch up.
Have you ever felt like you needed a day for your soul to catch up to you? In these days between Christmas and New Years, it is often a good time to set aside some time intentionally to let your soul catch up.
As I was driving out to church this morning, knowing that I was getting a late start, I pondered a few questions. Did Jesus ever get tired? Were there days he just wanted to lay in bed a little longer and let his weary bones rest? Did his soul need catching up?
One difference, of many, between Jesus and I is that Jesus did a better job of regularly keeping his soul in check. He was certainly more disciplined, intentional and regular in doing the things he needed to do to keep himself filled mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally. We see this throughout the Gospels, when he intentionally takes time to break away from his “important” work and spend time quietly with his Father. He understood that as necessary as it is for us to be with other folks, there are times when our bodies, minds, spirits and souls need down time. And he took it.
Have you been able to find some time this week to let your body, mind, spirit and soul rest? Will you allow yourself time to let your soul catch up with you? If Jesus thought this was a good idea, maybe we should too.
Going back to theMount Everest story, I do believe the Sherpa’s were up, early the following morning, ready to continue their trek. Did they make it to the peak? I can’t remember. I’m not sure it matters. Reaching the ultimate goal requires our souls be intact. If we leave it behind, then will we ever really cross the finish line?
Let us pray: God rest ye, merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Savior was born upon this day; to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray. O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy; O tidings of comfort and joy.