“How are things going? Good, just really, really busy.” This is a conversation I have been a part of many times. Sometimes I am the one asking the question. And often I am the one providing the answer that highlights my busyness. Most of us would agree that life can be very busy. The demands of the urgent and the important seem to always pull at us and make us wonder if we will ever be able to slow down.
In Mark 6 Jesus knew of the stress a busy life can produce. The disciples have just returned from an exciting time of ministry. Jesus had sent them out into the surrounding villages to preach the kingdom of God. They had healed people, cast out demons, and called people to repent. In Mark 6:30 they enthusiastically recount all that God did through them.
Jesus then gives an interesting command following all of this ministry activity and success. He tells them to come away and rest. Jesus knew this is what they now needed. Even though there were still many pressing needs of the multitudes Jesus calls the disciples away to refresh and recharge. He asks them to step out of the busyness of ministry and disconnect for a moment. Jesus understood that there would always be something to do, but if the disciples did not rest they would not be able to keep up with the demands of ministry. After all a burned-out disciple is not an effective disciple.
This passage serves as an important reminder to us as well of our need for rest. Life is so busy. There are always more needs to be met, more things to do, more ministry to be performed than there is time in the day. My own task list rarely gets completely accomplished each day. And yet, this passage reminds us that we must still take a break from it all. We must disconnect from the frenetic pace of life and recharge.
But how do we do this? What does it look like to rest, to recharge? I think it varies from person to person. Some find refreshment in taking a walk in nature, taking a nap, or reading a book in a quiet corner of their home. We each must determine how we best recharge. But one thing needs to be a common theme. Our resting must involve reconnecting with Jesus. In Mark 6 Jesus does not have the disciples go off by themselves. He has them get away with Him. Our recharging will never be as effective if it does not involve significant exposure to our Savior. And so, we must be sure to invest time in the life and soul satisfying truths of God’s Word and seek after God in prayer.
But this will not be easy. Again, there will always be something to do, some need to address, something urgent to attend to. It was this way with Jesus and the disciples, it will be this way with us as well. So, we must be intentional with our times of rest. We must schedule our times to disconnect and recharge and fight for them. Knowing that they are what allow us to be more fruitful in our busyness.
So, when was the last time you got away? When was the last time you rested? Schedule something soon. Take some time to disconnect and allow our gracious God to run the world for a little while as you rest in Him.