“And He said to them, “ Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.” Mark 6:31, NKJV
Have you ever found yourself so busy that you didn't even have the time to eat? I think many of us do and unfortunately we rarely use the kind of wisdom that Jesus shows us here in today's text.
His ministry was cranking, the demands of the people were great but Jesus knew that if He or His disciples were going to be effective then they were going to need some rest. Jesus knew the importance of rest and that you can't help anyone if your tank is empty. Getting rest is nothing new, we first see it in the book of Genesis when God rested on the seventh day. Did God need rest? I don't think so, He's God, He never slumbers or sleeps, but He did show us a pattern for work and for rest.
For thousands of years, Jewish people have practiced resting on the Sabbath. Beginning on Friday evening and lasting until Saturday evening, it is a time for them to take their eyes off the busyness of life and put their focus back on The Lord.
Beth and I have always been firm believers in taking time to rest. None of us were designed to live constantly under the stresses and demands of life. So we have unapologetically taken appropriate levels of time off over the last 21 years of our ministry. We needed the rest and so does the congregation that we have the privilege to serve. We're no good trying to minister from an empty well. We all need rest-- our bodies need it, our minds need it and our emotions need it. That's one of the reasons that we like to get together with friends that we can laugh with. God tells us that laughter is like a medicine and that it ministers to our souls and is health to our flesh.
We spent this week in the Palm Springs area. We talked, we took walks, we prayed together, we explored, met with some friends, and yes we laughed a lot. But most of all we got some rest from our normal go-go-go lives. Jesus was spot on about needing to get away, there's something refreshing about getting out from under your normal environment so you can find rest.
So when was the last time that you scheduled some time to get away and rest? If it's been a while then I want you to heed the words of Jesus and, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." And don't feel like you have to apologize for it. Get away for a few days, rest, laugh, pray, read your bible, and let God help you put your life back into balance. Get some rest, that's an order!