And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?Matthew 26:40
The new Sunday schedule for Church has taught me something about my lack of patience: No matter how long a meeting is, it’s too long for me. Where I used to get fidgety at minute 45 of a 70-minute sacrament meeting, now I start squirming at minute 35. I sometimes think I have the lowest “gospel saturation point” of any man alive.
Because of that, I sympathize with Peter, James, and John who fell asleep while waiting for Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Despite Jesus expressing his sorrow and heavy heart and asking his friends to “tarry ye here, and watch with me,” they succumbed to their exhaustion and fell asleep. Not once, but three times. They were awakened from their first slumber with the Lord’s gentle but disappointed rebuke: “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?”
The question is a piercing one. Christ, who had just promised never to leave his apostles alone nor leave them comfortless, was neglected almost immediately by his closest friends. He who would watch over them for their entire lives could not be spared the attention of an hour. In the presence of the greatest event of all time, the Atonement of Christ, they slept.
It is easy to look at Peter, James, and John narrowly and chide them over the gulf of two millennia for not being the faithful friends that the Savior deserved. The harder examination is to look at ourselves and ask whether we afford the Savior enough of our time and attention. Are we able to watch with Him one hour?
That question causes me no little discomfort. I think about my restlessness in a fast and testimony meeting when three people rush to the stand with a minute left on the clock. I think about my quick, superficial prayers offered just before I rush out the door or just before I roll into bed to sleep. I consider my ministering visits and my unapologetic mantra that “shorter is better.” I suspect that I am more impatient with the Lord and His work than I am with anyone around me.
I think that He deserves a more faithful friend.
My hope is that I can learn to quiet the distractions of the world and give the Lord whatever minutes or hours He asks of me. I hope that when His work is being accomplished, I won’t just be nearby, but I will also be awake.
How many of us are sleeping when those around us are hurting and are in need?Robert D. Hales