Having heeded Jesus’s call to go with minimal belongings and teach and minister to people, and after being shockingly interrupted to bury John the Baptist following his cruel, capricious death, Mark 6 reports, “The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.“ Jesus knew that from the outset, they needed to learn that ‘doing and teaching’ must be balanced by alone time with Him. “He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”
Ministry can be exhausting, and grief is wearying. The press of constant demands, needs, crowds, and work to be done can frenzy our thinking and our days. The pressure of finances, health, family matters, aging challenges, strained relationships, keeping up with changing technology can weigh us down with stress, distracted minds, heart and body pain, and we lose sense of the necessity of leisure and rest. It is Satan’s ruse to make us feel indispensable, to strangle us with the need to be always available, to distort our perspective on who God is–by tricking us into being gods ourselves.
He Who often “took leave of them [and] went up on the mountain to pray” is the One Who bids us “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” It is He Who “is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.He restores my soul.” (Matthew 11:28-29; Psalm 23:1-3)
Lord, teach me to come away with You. My going and doing is meaningless and powerless if I do not take time with You, if I fail to rest with and in You. You alone restore my soul.