May 11, 2023
RENEW AND REFRESH
The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.
Mark 6:30-31 NLT
Mark makes an interesting entry into his narrative about the life of Jesus. Earlier in this chapter Jesus had attempted to minister in His own hometown but their lack of faith hindered Him from doing many miracles. Then Jesus sends out the twelve for their first missionary journeys on their own. While they are gone Mark tells us the story of Herod’s killing of John the Baptist. When the twelve return Jesus wants them to all withdraw to a quiet place for rest. Perhaps He wants to debrief what the disciples experienced in their kingdom work. Perhaps He wanted time to mourn the passing of John the Baptist. It is interesting Mark includes this moment because it shows us the humanity of Jesus. He needed time to get away. I am reminded of the quote by Vance Havner, “If you don’t come apart and rest, you will come apart.” I am a type A personality. I always have a “to do” list that never seems to get done. I have struggled over the years with taking time off. Even on family vacations I would often have my computer and daily check my emails and return messages. There were two things driving me—one, I struggled with feeling I was not good enough. I wanted to prove my value to everyone, so I was going to out-work them to be the best. Secondly, I was afraid the church couldn’t make it without me. Bringing a balance to work and rest has always been a struggle for me. I constantly must check myself to be sure I’m getting proper time for rest and renewal. When I don’t take time to be renewed in spirit, soul, and body I begin to make poor decisions and my attitude really gets sour. I begin to lean toward the negative—and I am one of the most positive people in the world. Something I heard Rick Warren say years ago was that we need daily time to retreat for prayer and devotion, a weekly day to retreat, and a quarterly week to retreat. I must plan a quarterly escape. It may be a three or four day get-away with Cindy. It must be a time where I’m not constantly checking my emails, returning text, or answering calls. I find that if I read a good novel or two during this time away it really resets my mind. I can’t be reading a study book for sermons or leadership book—it must be reading purely for pleasure to relax the mind. How do you escape from the busyness of life? How to you come apart for rest?
Holy Spirit please help me to learn how to rest in Your presence. Help me to choose wise times to stop and be renewed.
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