How much rest should we expect?
This portion of a verse is commonly used to support our need to sometimes get away for the purpose of getting rest…he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31b)
But look at the first part of the verse: Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them…(Mark 6:31a) “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Look what happened in the next verse when they arrived to the desolate place: So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. (Mark 6:32-22)
When did Jesus rest? I can’t find Him resting. Though there may be some instances, rest seems rare.
Mark 1:32: That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.
Mark 3:9: Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.
Mark 3:20: Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.
Even when he stopped to rest,
the famous conversation with the Samaritan woman happened: Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) (John 4:6-8) Jesus then had the famous conversation with a Samaritan woman through verse 4:26 that required concentration and resulted in her becoming what many consider “the first evangelist.”
He was awakened to calm a storm: That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. (Mark 4:35-39)
When commonly alone with his disciples,
He was teaching.
With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything. (Mark 4:33-34)
The only solitude I can find,
is Jesus going away at night to pray: Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35)
People found Him in solitude too.
and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (Mark 1:37-38)
Some might argue that this lack of rest does not apply to everyone, particularly the Son of God. We are mere people, so we can’t be like Jesus. Besides, His ministry is different than ours. He came to die for the sins of the world; I did not.
Yes, and no.
Jesus had a different purpose for His life than any of us, but He also commissioned each of us to a busy life: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Of course each of use needs times of refreshment, but as we do what we think God wants us to do, I wonder if Jesus is less concerned with our traditional view of “comfort” than we think He is. Perhaps we should consider if we have drawn a line too far toward ease. I think this is a particularly crucial time for such reflection. Our last two years have been lived in so much isolation we may be in danger of letting inertia take over. Perhaps our line is drawn too far into busyness as well, but I suspect when we make the adjustment God asks of us, our lives will still be ACTIVE. I can’t find much excuse for comfort and ease or a retirement that looks like years of putting my feet up.
It appears our rest is mostly inward: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30). While we are actively living for the kingdom, our hearts and shoulders can be light because He is responsible for the results of our life, not us. We don’t carry that weight.
We have a blip of time to make a difference for the Kingdom of God.
As long as our health holds up and opportunities to serve come our way, let’s aim to show up. When our health interferes, let’s still keep praying and warring in the heavens for “Thy will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
What if opportunities dwindle?
They won’t. No one is more interested in using an available Christ follower to display His nature to a watching world than God Himself. No one is more interested in strengthening the witness of Christ to a hurting and confused world than God Himself. As long as we are alive, I suspect opportunities will abound.
Let’s stay as active as long as we can.
Picture Explanation: An active Christian life cannot be lived well without being rooted firmly in the strength of God though Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Deep roots are needed. I spent the first 13 years of my Christian life being active on my own strength and crashed and burned. I then learned that the root system comes first, then the action. I have come to understand roots are beautiful! I pray yours and mine are as tenacious as those pictured today.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)
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