As He always was, Jesus was wise here to point out the importance of a little rest. “R&R”, as we call it, can do wonders for a person’s spirit. People have instinctively understood this principle down through the ages.
Years ago (June 6, 1994, to be exact), the devotional publication titled Our Daily Bread carried the following anecdote that had first been recorded over 2500 years ago. It regards Aesop, the ancient Greek slave whose Fables are so renown, and it well underscores the importance of rest.
In ancient Athens, a man noticed the great storyteller Aesop playing childish games with some little boys. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in such frivolous activity.
Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground. Then he said to the critical Athenian, "Now, answer the riddle, if you can. Tell us what the unstrung bow implies."
The man looked at it for several moments but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. Aesop explained, "If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it."
People are also like that. That's why we all need to take time to rest. In today's Scripture, Jesus prescribed time off for His wearied disciples after they had returned from a prolonged period of ministry. And in the Old Testament, God set a pattern for us when He "rested from all His work" (Gen.2:3).
Shouldn't we take His example seriously? Start by setting aside a special time to relax physically and renew yourself emotionally and spiritually. You will be at your best for the Lord if you have taken time to loosen the bow.*
My wife and I have spent the last few days doing just that. We have unstrung our bows and relaxed a little. Already, I can tell a huge difference. Already, my spirit is refreshed; as is hers.
During this time of summer vacation, I trust you will also take some time to unstring your bow. Get out from under the tension for a little while. You will be glad you did. Your strength will return. And your aim is sure to be truer in the days ahead.