I had every intention of writing this week's blog with a focus on the call stories of Simon (Peter) and Levi (Matthew) found in Luke chapter 5 and what they have to say to us today; but, my sermon for the 6:35 service tonight will go into these and this morning something else grabbed my attention instead.
In Luke 5:15-16 we read:
"News of him spread even more and huge crowds gathered to listen and to be healed from their illnesses. But Jesus would withdraw to deserted places for prayer."(CEB)
Not being one to shy away from sharing the words of another when they express something better than I can myself, I want to invite you to read what Fred Craddock has to say about this passage:
"The people are not to be faulted; they want to hear and be healed (v. 15). But Jesus will not permit himself to be defined by the people or be so occupied as to be cut off from the source of his power. He is in the desert again, praying and perhaps, as in the desert before, struggling. It was no simple or easy matter to turn away, even for prayer, so long as even one diseased or possessed person asked for help. Some of us regard turning from evil to good a victory; only persons of extraordinary spiritual discernment can at times turn from good to the power necessary to resource the good. In verse 16, Luke says literally, "But he was withdrawing in desert places (plural) and praying." This is not a reference to a single instance but a pattern of repeated behavior. This is as customary for Jesus as going to the synagogue on the Sabbath." (Interpretation, p, 72)
How good is that?! As someone who has an ongoing struggle with making time to withdraw from the busyness of life to enjoy Sabbath rest, I really appreciate this reminder.
And so, that is where I am going to leave things for this week. Before I turn to my calendar of obligations and growing to-do list, I am going to withdraw for a few moments to pray - for my family, my friends, my colleagues in ministry, anyone who might read this. May we all find time in the middle of things to turn to the "power necessary to resource the good" and may grace and peace be with you this day.