Like a loving shepherd, Jesus showed compassion for his disciples. No doubt they returned from their mission tired but full of stories about "all that they had done and taught" (v.30). Mark does not record any of these stories, however. Instead, summing up their return in one verse, he concentrates on Jesus' compassionate concern for them: "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while" (v.31). We are struck here by the common sense of Jesus. Compelled as he was to an urgent ministry, he still knew the need for a balanced life. There was a time for work and a time for rest. After a lot of hard work the disciples needed a period of relaxation for physical and mental recovery. Jesus knew that they would have to receive if they were to give and set a time for retreat and refreshment. Impressed by the great purposes we have been given in the church and eager for success in our mission, we easily become convinced that our work is indispensable and so urgent there is no time for rest. Then, as compassionately as he said it to his disciples, Jesus says to us, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." Dietrich Bonheoffer, in his book Life Together, made the striking statement: "Let him who cannot be alone beware of community." Jesus provided a retreat for his disciples. Christians ever since have found spiritual retreats valuable. Our own family lives are daily retreats for rest and refreshment.