Leading God’s people is a privilege, but also a burden.
- The burden became so great for Moses that one day he prayed to God “put me to death right now…” (Numbers 11:15)
- The burden became so great for Jeremiah that one day he exclaimed “Cursed be the day I was born!” (Jeremiah 20:14)
- The burden became so great for Jonah that one day he prayed “O Lord, take away my life…” (Jonah 4:3)
- The burden became so great for Elijah that he prayed “I have had enough, Lord…Take my life…” (1 Kings 19:4)
But when we study the life of Jesus, we don’t ever see him getting so overwhelmed that death seemed preferable to life. Why? Because Jesus would frequently refresh his soul by withdrawing from the crowds in order to be alone with God.
- In Matthew 4:1-2 Jesus was led by the Spirit on a 40 day spiritual retreat in the desert where he fasted and prayed.
- We read in Luke 5:16, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
Jesus not only modeled the importance of occasionally withdrawing for spiritual refreshing, he also taught it to his disciples. We read in Mark 6:31, Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” By “quiet place” Jesus meant away from the crowds and away from the demands of the crowds.
When taking a sabbatical, pastors are choosing the way of Jesus as not to go the way of Moses, Jeremiah, Jonah and Elijah.