Do you ever feel the need to get away from all the pressing problems, and all the pressures, and just go away? To leave one of those notices on you office door, or on the front door of your house, which tells everyone that you're not available?
Nowadays it's harder to get away. Mobile phones, email, social networks, and laptop computers make people accessible even in previously remote places - like mountain tops, or deep ravines. That can be a good thing, of course, but it can mean that we seldom, if ever, find uninterrupted time to think seriously. And we all need time to do that.
Jesus was the Son of God and he was very much on his father's wavelength. It was once said of him that he loved to do his Father's will and to keep His commandments. In a remarkable prediction about the coming Servant of God, written more than 500 years before Jesus was born of Mary, Isaiah prophesied this about the attitude Jesus would adopt:
"The Lord God....awakens me morning by morning, he awakens my ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God has opened my ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help me." Isaiah 50:4-7.
This Servant would always be accessible to God; always willing to listen; always keen to obey - even if it meant suffering and scorn; always trusting in his Father's loving care and help. Jesus gave us the perfect example, in this as in everything in life, of how to keep in touch with God in prayer.
We need to get away, to think things through, but we musn't stay away. Some young men once left rural Galilee for Jerusalem, where they had been deeply impressed. The time came for them to return home, back to work with their fathers in the fishing business which supported them and their families. They must have reflected, back in their home villages, on the remarkable teaching they had heard and the huge claims that were made by, and about, the thirty year old Rabbi called 'Jesus' whom they had encountered.
Then, one day, he turned up on the shore of the lake where they worked (some of them were fishing, and others were mending their nets at the time), and issued an invitation that must have challenged them enormously.
"Now Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'"
It was one of those life-changing moments, and it is evident from what happened next that they had spent their times of reflection profitably. Their minds were already made up, for their instant response is carefully recorded:
"They immediately left their nets and followed him." (Matthew 4:18-20)
Again, it has to be the same for us. We must take time out to think important things through, but you can't think forever. There is a time for decision and for decisive action. These are exciting days in which we are now living, on the brink of the coming of Jesus to earth, days which challenge all his would-be followers. For he still issues the age-old invitation: "Follow me".