Retreat so they’ll be no Defeat
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb. And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately… And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. – Mark 6:10-32
When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart… And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away… And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. – Matt. 14:13a,22-23
And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. – Luke 9:10
After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples… he departed again into a mountain himself alone. – John 6:1-3, 15a
We can learn much from these select passages above that is rarely spoken about nor taken to heart in ministries all across the board, from Christianity to Messianic and Natsari Judaism, and that is the principle of taking sabbaticals.
After a massive double whammy ministerial campaign of the Disciples going 2 by 2 as well as the 12 traveling about with Yeshua and experiencing the miracles and dealing with the crowd control of the thronging masses; it was clear Yeshua and the 12 were maxed out physically, mentally and spiritually and needed a retreat to recuperate and recharge or be in danger of major burnout!
Notice that Yeshua has no fear that the ministry would fold or fall apart if they took a break. Remember Yeshua has more than just 12 Disciples, He had a least 70 Disciples (Luke 10:1) plus crowds of people He left behind.
Go back and read the passages as a whole and note how:
1. Yeshua sent His Talmidim (Disciples) ahead of Him while…
2. He tactfully took care of the crowds before He…
3. Took some time to be alone by Himself before He…
4. Went on sabbatical with His Talmidim.
Like the Captain of a ship, first to arrive and first to leave, He made sure the ship was in order before He disembarked.
Leaders often need but rarely get alone time, just them and God, but this is desperately needed. I suggest every ministerial leader at least take a week sabbatical alone away from family, friends, colleagues, computers, phones, TV’s and other miscellaneous technological ball and chains.
After the Yeshua recharged, He met up with His Talmidim who went ahead of them. After all, Talmidim need time away from the Rebbe too. Familiarirty breeds contempt and so, the Disciples needed alone time just as much as Yeshua did. But when they did finally meet up for a joint retreat note that they didn’t go to some Galilean casino resort sipp’n pomegranate smoothies on the beach. No, they retreated into the wilderness, a desert place, a place of nature and absent of civilization.
Finally understand that Yeshua and His Talmidim had a home base of operations in Bethesda of Galilee, where the majority of His Talmidim were from. When Yeshua and His Talmidim were on the road ministering they never knew until they arrived what sort of accommodations that would be available to them (Matt. 10:7-15, 8:20) but they always had a home base to return to. The home base of operations was different from the place of retreat.
I have learned many years ago the absolute necessity of closing shop and getting the heck out of Dodge in order to avoid burn out and stagnation. Once a year, usually in the winter, I take a month off ministry and the only thing I do is post the weekly Torah Portions online, other than that I make no videos, wrote no blogs, nor travel or take on any speaking engagements. A week out of that month I go off alone to a cabin out in the woods and take no technological device with me. I sleep, take walks, veg out, rest, think, pray and did I mention, sleep? And if I feel I need longer I have no fear in taking two months off. But one usually does the trick.
When it is all said and done I am recharged and refreshed. The dust and cobwebs are brushed away, the rusty cogs in my brain are lubricated and I come back with a fresh new perspective and direction for the next phase of the ministry. If I didn’t I am positive I would have burnt out and walked away from ministry long ago a bitter and broken man.
So in order for us to be more like Messiah we need to know when to get away. The Western World and its corporate ethics in which many of us sadly utilize in ministry, has drilled into us to produce, produce, produce, to push, push, push, to dig in our heels and power through, to work, work, work. Rarely do we hear, “Take a break, relax, get away.” Let alone that it is okay to do so.
This is one of these instances that we desperately need a paradigm shift from the Western Greek way of thinking and doing things to the Easter Hebraic way of thinking and operating if we as a ministry let alone a movement is going to survive in order to hand off to the next generation.
The evil one wants to fool us into thinking retreat is resigning the so-called fact that the enemy is stronger, if he wasn’t we wouldn’t have needed a rest. Balderdash! The enemies M.O. (Method of Operation) is to wear you down and wear you out. He’s not stronger per se, just more conniving perhaps. Besides internal conflict within the ministry among its members, I believe this is the second greatest tactic that the evil one uses in an attempt to defeat us.
So chill and take some time out if you have to. As the old Ad campaign on the old G.I. Joe cartoons said, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!”