And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31b (ESV)
Premise: Is rest becoming a lost art in our modern culture?
It seems that we’ve exchanged the old-fashioned value of rest for a hectic, fast-paced, breakneck speed of life. And, as our blood pressure and anxiety elevate, the fervor and passion we feel for our chosen mission diminishes. Packed within each 24-hour time span is a seemingly unsustainable and unattainable list of tasks placed on us by ourselves and by others.
We find ourselves faced with fatigue and frustration, and we’d sure love to offload some the burden, wouldn’t we?
But, honestly, with our day-to-day schedules, rest just doesn’t seem like a viable option. In this modern world, have we forever passed up any kind of reality that dares to include rest as part of our plans?
In Mark 6:7-11, Jesus sends His disciples off on a specific assignment.
“And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”
He doesn’t shield the disciples from the fact that their journey will not be easy. People will refuse to listen to them, much less give them hospitality. Any cause for excitement will be counterbalanced by multiple, legitimate reasons for discouragement, and for quitting. Yes, they’ll be empowered to meet the tasks Jesus has assigned them, but they’ll also be exhausted on every front — physically, emotionally and spiritually.
And, even after finally returning home from their tiring journey, people would still be “coming and going,” so much that “they had no leisure even to eat.” (v. 31b).
So, as their first order of business upon returning, Jesus greets them with clear instructions to rest: “He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while’” (Mark 6:31b).
It isn’t a request, “Will you come?” It isn’t a friendly suggestion, “Wouldn’t you like to?” It is a command, “COME.” He’s telling His beloved disciples, “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? Do you feel a sense of wasted opportunity if every space on your calendar is not filled? Are you afraid you will lose your momentum if you disengage even for a few moments? Are you concerned about losing your focus or falling short of your goals if you’re not converting every moment into maximum achievement and efficiency?
Stop. Listen to the voice of your Savior welcoming you into a place of rest. A place where grace flows and the Spirit refuels. A place where mercy fixes what is strained and stressed by the accumulation of life’s pressures. A place where priorities and relationships that have been pushed out of alignment and are in need of repair, get patched up, and recalibrated.
REST not an excuse for the lazy, but a wise investment for the diligent.
Rest is for those who are committed to being active servants and followers of Jesus Christ, instead of being slaves to the urgency of busyness and activity. By pausing and prioritizing rest for ourselves and for those we love, we might just rediscover the joy that brought us to this mission in the first place.
Try saying this before you reach burn-out –
Lord, help me to embrace Your grace.
Guide my steps as I seek to rely on You.
Allow me to discover the rest You commanded
to be part of my life.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Praying that you and your family will take this next week to truly rest and that you will allow Him to refresh and renew you.
Written by Rich Silveira
Retired NCA Teacher