When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick (Matthew 14:13-14, Common English Bible).
When I started thinking about these two verses my mind started to runaway a bit. I started thinking about the Southwest Airline ad campaign where the woman is snooping in her friend’s medicine cabinet and everything comes crashing down followed by a voice saying, “Wanna get away?” Or there is the ad from the same campaign where the person is staring bored at their computer screen when an email comes in about a “new job” and “click here.” A computer virus is then launched throughout the company. Again, it is followed up by the voice saying, “Wanna get away?”
At some point in my life I heard introverts and extroverts being defined by where you get your energy. If you get your energy from being alone and being around people drains you, you are an introvert. On the other hand, if you gain energy from the time you spend with others and being alone tends to drain you, you are an introvert.
I am the quintessential extrovert. I need time around people. For most of my years in ministry my day off has been Friday. At times at least, it isn’t uncommon for me to spend most if not all my time on Friday alone. Sometimes, Cindy would come in from work and ask, “What do you want to do tonight?” My response was always, “I don’t care as long as its around people.”
Still, even though I love to be around people and I need that in my life, I also do need time alone. We all do. And, by time alone, I mean quiet time when there are no distractions like smart phones or television. We all need the quiet and the stillness. It is in such a setting that we are most likely to hear God speak.
For so many in American society, we walk in the house and the first thing we do is turn on the television. There is a good chance we aren’t really paying attention to it. When I have asked some of these people why, the response I always seemed to get is, “I want the noise.” What is it that we are afraid to hear in the silence?
In the verses making up our lesson today, Jesus and the disciples had just learned about the fate of John the Baptist. John was Jesus’ cousin. He was important to Jesus in other ways too and, for all intents and purposes, he had just been murdered because of some slick dance moves and a coward who watched them.
Jesus wanted time alone to grieve. This might be the most important alone time any of us could ever have. Jesus craved that time. He sought that time. It was something important for his soul, and he was unable to find it. As soon as the crowds figured out what Jesus was doing, they were after him.
We will talk about that more tomorrow. For today, remember, you need time alone, just you and God.
When and where do you find your alone time?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved