A man with a tendency toward being a workaholic had put off looking at a letter his son handed him the day before. He was too distracted to be bothered with something that he felt could wait.
He was very busy with a critical project at work that kept him from sleeping at night. He believed that the project he was focused on was crucial to his success in the coming year. He had worked tirelessly to achieve a level of respect and trust, and finally landed the chance to prove himself with this project.
He noticed his son seemed rather upset. He wondered if he was having trouble in school again or if this was about a girl. He had meant to have a talk with him about girls some time ago. He decided that now would be a good time to finally get that over with. The man began the conversation and although it was awkward, said what he meant to say and believed it was clear. He had thought about the words to use, but it still sounded awkward.
His son seemed to process what he said and only had a few questions. His father concluded that he could now get back to the work he intended to get done before the night was over. He started to dismiss his son with the usual excuses about work, but was stopped short. His son was glaring at him and held the unopened envelope he had given his father the night before. He knew that his son felt it was important, but wondered if it was as he opened the envelope.
As he expected, it was a letter from the boy’s scout leader to all parents, asking for volunteers. The man skimmed through the letter then looked at his son. There was no way that he could take time off from work right now. His son responded that no other parent had the experience he had for this particular activity. The boy pleaded with his father, who eventually gave in. The man was surprised at how supportive his supervisor was about the short notice. His reason for leaving seemed to impress his boss.
The trip began with his thoughts consumed with what may have been overlooked on the project. He wasn’t involved in the discussion between the boys and the leader as he was too busy making phone calls. He reasoned that they could wait for a few minutes, then finally joined the group. There was nothing more he could do now, so he turned his focus to his son. Their eyes met and he saw a smile of pride that made him forget work.
Three days later he realized that he had not enjoyed himself that much in a very long time. He had laughed, he had told stories, he had listened as boys talked about their interests. It had amazed him to see similarities to how he and his childhood friends had been, and how well he had slept each night. The best part was knowing that this was a memory he and his son would share for a long time. It was with gratitude that he shook hands with the leader and bid the boys farewell. It had been a time worth taking regardless of the cost.
—————Thoughts that motivated this story—————
In this story I wanted to reflect on getting away
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
In Matthew 5:2 we are given a reason for Jesus going up the mountain when He saw the multitude, it was to teach them. The crowd may have wondered why He led them to this remote place, or I would have at least! We know that Jesus had taught before and Matthew generalized that in Chapter 4, but here is our first look at what the teachings of Jesus might be about. I write this as I sit in a quiet campground in the mountains, listening to the warnings of a few squirrels. What a difference it can make to get away from the normal routine!
Jesus brought them to a place where the mind could absorb, the worries put aside, and the spirit could pay attention. Teaching rather than taking, healing rather than judging, and setting free rather than manipulating are counter to what men naturally do. Sometimes I think that nature is better, but then I realize something that nature cannot do; it cannot love or give. Only God loved mankind enough to make a way for redemption when there was no way to achieve it.
Getting away is beneficial as much today as it probably was back then. Even if their lives were simpler, they still had many of the same worries and problems we face today. There is always something to be done or something beyond our control. Jesus leading them to this remote place away from their normal lives reminds me of how God commanded the Israelites to focus a day on rest and worship. Time set aside for rest and introspection improves our worship and authenticity and brings us closer to God. It may seem contrary to our lives as we work to be accepted; while with God we rest in Him.