Of the four gospels, Mark presents the most down-to-earth portrait of Jesus’ life. Over the next three months, we’ll follow Jesus from his baptism in the Jordan River to his cross at Calvary. Along the way, we’ll marvel at his compassion, power, and authority as he performs miracles and transforms the lives of the people he encounters, and we’ll gain a deeper understanding of Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice that secures our salvation.
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8 When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. 9 Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. 10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. 11 Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’ 12 But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about him.
Mark’s Gospel, just like the others, portrays Jesus as an outrageously generous person. Jesus gives wholeheartedly without counting the cost (even when he is asked to sacrifice his own life). He goes out of his way to help others. He relentlessly pursues those who have gone astray. And he cares about people’s hearts and well-being without limitations.
However, we can also catch a glimpse of Jesus’ self-care habits that protected him from harm and burnout. We see him regularly withdrawing from people, enjoying quiet time with his closest friends, and sometimes retreating into complete solitude.
In today’s reading, we see many faces coming from many places to Jesus. Everyone wanted a piece of him even if it meant crushing him. The crowds pressed for a healing touch so hard that Jesus needed an escape plan.
We read about the disciples making preparations to protect him and get him into a boat at a moment’s notice.
In this story, we are encouraged to imitate Jesus’ generous love and care, but also to intentionally protect ourselves against burnout and the crushing demands of deadlines and responsibilities. In our zeal to follow Jesus and serve others, we shouldn’t forget that setting up firm boundaries around our time, energy, physical and emotional well-being is both healthy and biblical.
Do you find it challenging to keep the balance between passionately burning for Jesus and avoiding burnout? Which extreme do you normally gravitate towards? Whether you tend to compromise service or rest, may you find wisdom and power in Jesus’ great example to make small, practical changes in different areas of your life.
Love and Prayers Sara