Fatigue can be an enemy of compassion. A person otherwise inclined to serve feels like they are the one in need. Circumstances sap energy and it’s just impossible to muster the effort necessary to meet a need, make a call, pay a visit, or solve a problem. There is the fatigue that comes from too much physical exertion, the kind that comes from prolonged exertion, the kind that is primarily mental, and the fatigue that is mostly emotional. In the case of Jesus and his apostles, all four kinds were present in a big way. In the later section of Mark 6 we see that everyone was dealing with the news that John the Baptist had been murdered by a petty ruler at the behest of his crazy wife, who was really his brothers wife, and actually a niece to both of them. The weekend highs of ministry are now reversed by the lows of Monday morning depression mixed with deep sorrow. Months of grueling ministry demands were taking their toll, and Jesus shows his men a great kindness by trying to get away to a less populated region east of Capernaum (Mark 6:31). There is a time for everything under the sun, even getting away from it all. The amazing thing to me is that the retreat lasted no more than a few hours, and was interrupted by the sick and spectators. Despite deep exhaustion, Jesus has the men steer the boat directly into the heart of the crowd. The motive was singular: compassion. Maybe fatigue makes us better caregivers. Maybe exhaustion sucks out the gases of pride that can turn sincere compassion into opportunistic charity. Compassion from one hurting person to another is compassion in its purest form.