"And He said to them, 'Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.'" (Mark 6:31 NAS95)
Jesus knows that ceasing and reflecting so you can feast on the ways of God packs health into life. He desired this for His disciples after the 12 returned from a foray into Galilee to expand God’s Kingdom. Prior to Jesus inviting them to come away with Him, they had enthusiastically and profusely shared with Him their experience of God, their experience of the work they’d been asked to do. They couldn’t help it. They had never felt anything like it. They gushed with news of God’s activity and work. They had dramatically enjoyed the work, the partnership with God in His Kingdom, inviting others to follow Jesus, but now they needed to rest. Jesus saw the gleam in their eyes and the exhaustion in their bodies. So Jesus, since they kept getting interrupted where they did the debriefing, suggested they come away with Him to rest. He wanted to give them a moment where they could allow their hearts to still, to once again become present to His Father — their Father. Yes, the disciples overflowed with amazement, but now they needed to relish in their relationship with God, to take in His ways, to realize how He had interacted with them during their mission. Jesus piqued their curiosity when He shared with them not to rejoice in their work or their powers, but in their relationship with God (Luke 10:20). Two weeks ago, I returned from an exhilarating experience in ministry with God — exhausted, but did not know it. I had rejoiced in what people gave voice to in their experience and interaction with God, what they were discovering. God even allowed me to experience amazing moments with some of them. I felt carried and filled with energy, focus and pleasure. It would have been easy to get caught up with self or ego. What I needed when I returned home was time with God, time to reflect, cease, and pray. Rest. Stillness allowed me to see God in the midst of all that happened — not me or my contributions or significance, but God, His presence and leadership of the time that was shared in community with these people. Ceasing produced perspective, understanding, and a deepening comprehension of God’s ways with me rather than a heart swelling with pride. Rest held the key — time out so I could see God, to grasp His love. I need to heed Jesus’ advice more regularly because it brings health into life. What about you? Warmly in Christ, Doug Mitts
For Reflection: "He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake." (Psalms 23:2–3 ESV)
What happens in your heart when you sense you’ve made significant impact on others in your ministry? How do you engage with God about those things?
In what ways has God met you when you’ve ceased, rested and reflected with Him after a significant or intense period in ministry?