October 22, 2018
“He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.’” Mark 6:31a (EHV)
Rest is becoming a lost art in our modern culture.
We’ve exchanged its old-fashioned value for a hectic, fast-paced, breakneck speed of life. Our fervor and passion disintegrate while our blood pressure elevates. Packed within each 24-hour time span is an unsustainable number of tasks we’ve placed upon ourselves, as well as demands others deem urgent enough to place upon us as well.
And based on our fatigue and frustration, we’d give anything to offload the burden.
But rest doesn’t seem like a viable option anymore. Have we forever passed up any kind of reality that dares to include rest as part of a typical day? Or week? Or … month? (Or … a year?)
When Jesus sent His disciples off on a specific ministry assignment in Mark 6:7-11, He didn’t shield them from the fact that their journey would not be particularly easy. People would refuse to listen to them, much less give them hospitality. Any cause for excitement would be counterbalanced by any number of legitimate reasons for quitting and discouragement. They’d be empowered to preach, heal and spread the news of the kingdom, yes, but they’d also be exhausted on every front — physically, emotionally and spiritually. And even after finally coming back home from their tiring journey, people would still be “coming and going,” enough that the disciples “did not even have time to eat” (v. 31b).
So as their first order of business upon returning, Jesus greeted them with clear instructions to rest: “He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while’” (Mark 6:31a).
It wasn’t a request. It wasn’t a friendly suggestion. It was Jesus’ command. Here’s what you’re going to do, guys. You’ve been through a lot. And much more remains to be done. But for now … rest … come and rest. At least for a little while.
Do you ever feel guilty for taking time away to regroup and recharge? Are you saddled with a sense of wasted opportunity if every space on your calendar is not filled? Are you afraid your world will stop turning if you disengage for even a few moments? Are you concerned about losing your competitive advantage if you’re not converting every moment into maximum achievement and efficiency?
Then hear the voice of your Savior welcoming you into a place where grace flows, where the Spirit refuels, and where mercy fixes what’s been strained and stressed by accumulating life’s pressures. This is the space where priorities and relationships that have been pushed out of alignment (and are in need of repair) get patched up and recalibrated.
Quiet time is not an excuse for the lazy but a wise investment for the diligent. It’s for those who are committed to being active servants and followers of Jesus Christ instead of slaves to the tyranny of urgent busyness and activity. By prioritizing rest for ourselves and those we love, we might just rediscover the joy we thought had been lost forever.
Lord, help me to embrace Your grace. Guide my steps as I seek to come to You … and allow me to rediscover the rest You commanded to be part of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Exodus 33:14, “The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” (NIV)
Psalm 62:1, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.” (NIV)
Do you ever feel like the revolving door of schedules and commitments keeps you from living the life God has for you — a life full of peace, contentment and joy? We hope you’ll join us for our next Online Bible Study, Breathe by Priscilla Shirer. Join us on a journey to discovering what it means to rest as God intended. The four-week study kicks off Nov. 12. Sign up now for free!
You can connect with Priscilla through all her social media outlets, here.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What would a time of deliberate rest look like for you today? This month? This year? Who are the people you can enlist to keep you accountable? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
© 2018 by Priscilla Shirer. All rights reserved.
Originally published Monday, 22 October 2018.