With our emphasis on knowing God’s Word in 2018, we’re excited for this new series on spiritual disciplines. Each month, we’ll unpack a different spiritual discipline, defining it as well as offering some ideas for practical application! This month, we’re sharing an excerpt from Priscilla Shirer’s 90-day devotional, Awaken.
He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31
Rest is becoming a lost art in our modern culture. We’ve exchanged its old-fashioned value for a hectic, fast-paced, breakneck speed of life, which has slowly disintegrated our fervor and passion while simultaneously elevating our blood pressure. Packed within each twenty-four-hour time span is an unsustainable number of tasks we’ve placed upon ourselves, as well as demands we’ve allowed others to deem urgent enough to place upon us as well.
And based on our fatigue and frustration, we’d give anything to offload the burden.
But rest doesn’t seem like a viable option anymore. Have we forever passed up any kind of reality that dares to include rest as part of a typical day? Or week? Or . . . month? (Or . . . year?)
When Jesus sent His disciples off on a specific ministry assignment in Mark 6:7–11, He didn’t shield them from the fact that their journey would not be particularly easy. People would refuse to listen to them, much less give them hospitality. Any cause for excitement would be counterbalanced by any number of legitimate reasons for quitting and discouragement. They would be empowered to preach, heal, and spread the news of the kingdom, yes, but would also be exhausted on every front—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And even after finally coming back home from their tiring journey, people would still be “coming and going,” enough that the disciples “did not even have time to eat” (v. 31).
So as their first order of business upon returning, Jesus greeted them with clear instructions: “Come . . . rest a while.”
It wasn’t a request. It wasn’t a friendly suggestion. It was Jesus’ command. Here’s what you’re going to do, guys. They’d been through a lot. And much more remained to be done. But for now . . . rest . . . come and rest. At least for a little while.
Do you ever feel guilty for taking time away to regroup and recharge? Are you saddled with a sense of wasted opportunity if every space on your calendar is not filled? Are you afraid your world would stop turning if you disengaged for even a few moments? Are you concerned about losing your competitive advantage if you’re not converting every moment into maximum achievement and efficiency?
Then hear the voice of your Savior welcoming you into a place where grace flows, where the Spirit refuels, and where mercy fixes what’s been strained and stressed by the accumulation of life’s pressures. This is the space where priorities and relationships that have been pushed out of alignment and are in need of repair get patched up and recalibrated.
Quiet time is not an excuse for the lazy but a wise investment for the diligent. It is for those who are committed to being active servants and followers of Jesus Christ instead of slaves to the tyranny of urgent busyness and activity. By prioritizing rest for ourselves and those we love, we may just rediscover the joy we thought had been lost forever.
“My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
What would a time of deliberate rest look like for you today? This month? This year? Who are the people you can enlist to keep you accountable?