Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3603

Jump Start # 3603

Matthew 14:13 “Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.”

  NOTE: Jump Starts are taking a break next week. I’m taking a few days off. Truth is, by the time you read this, I will be back from my travels. Hopefully, we will connect again on July 1st.

  Jesus got away. I like that. We all need to do that. Whether it is a big vacation, a stay-cation, or just unplugging from life for a while, it is good. Stress, problems, deadlines, and pressure can build up. It’s good to sleep in once in awhile. It’s good to break your routine, do something different. Those things help us reflect, energize and puts a smile on our faces. Burnout is a real concern for some of us preachers. We ought not to feel guilty for just chillin’ out once in a while. Jesus got away and so should we.

  Our verse today is layered with lessons for us:

  First, Jesus head about John. That would be cousin John. That would be John, the prophet. John, the forerunner. John who had baptized Jesus. Jesus had heard about John. What did He hear? John had been executed by Herod’s thugs. John was a family member. That hurts. John died young. He was only six months older than Jesus. That hurts. John died violently, just as Jesus will die violently. That hurts.

  Certainly with thoughts about his own coming crucifixion, Jesus withdrew to a secluded place. He got away. Time to reflect. Time to remember. Time to pray. Time to focus. Certainly, there were more Jesus could heal that day. Certainly, there was more lessons Jesus could have taught that day. But sometimes, one just needs to find that secluded place.

  Alone, but not alone. Away from the demands. Away from the crowds. Away from distractions. Jesus could think. The text doesn’t tell this, but what I know about Jesus from the Gospels, I expect tears flowed down his cheeks as He thought about John. The clock was moving fast. Now, John was gone.

  Second, a secluded place doesn’t have to be miles away. It can be in your home. It can be out on your deck. It can be a place where cell phones, people, TV and other things  won’t distract you and call for your attention. Just processing. Just thinking. Just being thankful. One of my favorite places is the empty and dark auditorium at the church building. I love my office. It’s the best. But phones, computers and work demand my time and attention there. In my secluded place, it’s just me, my thoughts and the Lord. A lot of personal good comes from those moments.

  Do you have a place that you can call your secluded haven? It’ll do you a lot of good if you can find such a place and use it often.

  Third, the quietness of the day is something so few have ever experienced. For some, the TV is always on. Others always have music or videos running. In the stillness one can hear the birds singing. One can listen to the gentle falling rain. One can notice the trees swaying in the breeze.

  As close in age and relation that John and Jesus were, we don’t see Jesus losing his focus over John’s death. He doesn’t decide to go after Herod. He doesn’t change his mission. And, that’s a great lesson for us.

  When there has been a close death to us, we do well to just find a secluded place and reflect. Rather than feeling hurt for what you have lost, reflection causes us to be thankful for what we had. Memories. Celebrations. Good times. Lessons learned. Love expressed. Those are the kind of things that can keep us going when the sadness of death surrounds us.

  The text reminds us that Jesus didn’t stay in the secluded place, and neither can we. There comes a time to get back at life. The crowds went on ahead of Jesus and were waiting for Him. He came. And, with that, so must we. Back to helping the kingdom. Back to being a disciple of Jesus. Don’t stay secluded. Don’t be ruined by grief. Don’t let a death keep you from what you ought to be doing.

  Jesus got away. Something to remember.