Mark 6:31 (ESV)
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
A holiday weekend is now over and those who have the blessing of gainful employment are returning to work after having an extra day off for a holiday. This blog has been dormant since Friday due to the fact that the regular author of the posts and the one who writes posts when he is away, were both away together taking a group of young men on a retreat weekend involving fishing, Bible Studies and preaching videos. While it was not a holiday, it was restful because we were out of the city and the normal hectic pace that we all seek to maintain.
To be able to spend a couple of hours fishing and then sit around a campfire talking about the goodness of God is an incredible gift from God. On Saturday evening there we were, all standing in a pitch dark night looking at an awe inspiring show put on by God in the form of a starry night. There are so many more stars in the sky when there are no city lights to block their view! And then there were the walks in the woods, the campfire and the absence of city noise.
This kind of get away is a gift from God and it is of great value to the soul. The verse above reminds us that Jesus was concerned about the physical well being of His disciples. He told them to come away with Him because they had just returned from a time of preaching and healing. They were tired. He wanted them to get a break.
But it would have benefits far beyond the physical. Rest feeds the soul as well. Overwork, a full schedule, a hectic pace do not just make us tired. They infect the soul. They keep us from spending time alone with God and benefitting from the good that such times give us. Our schedules contribute to the withering of the heart. God becomes distant. We know things are not right spiritually but we just cannot put a finger on why. Psalm 46:10 tells us why.
Psalm 46:10 (ESV)
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
We are unable to “be still and know”.
Not all of us can get away on fishing trips and spiritual retreats. But we can schedule in times alone with God. We need to value them more highly and get them on our “to do” lists. To say that we do not have time to schedule in away times with God for focussed prayer and Bible meditation is to say that we don’t have time to grow closer to Him.
We all need more rest. We all are over booked and over scheduled and trying to do too much. We must not let it prevent us from growing closer to our God.
Examine your schedule. This Sunday afternoon, schedule in a time to do nothing but nap, read your Bible and reflect upon its message and pray over it. If you have questions about what it says, bring them up with your pastor or leaders at another time. Turn the TV off. Take the ear plugs out of your ears. Turn off the computer. Pray, meditate, read, nap, journal, think, take a leisurely walk. There are many ways to cultivate a quiet reflective time with God. Do not diminish it. It is of great value. For the good of your own soul get away with God alone. It will make you better for all the things that you need to get done. It will help equip you for the spiritual battles you are called to fight in. And you will, as you make this a regular time in your life be amazed at how valuable it is to you.
God bless you in your efforts.