Mk.6:30-32 – The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And 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. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.v
Come and rest awhile. Spiritual rest and renewal is critical if we want to effectively minister to people. Actually it was a form of spiritual exhaustion that brought me to a place of renewal. My spiritual resources were drained, in other words I was running on empty and didn’t know it. If we are always doing, doing, doing and giving, giving, giving we will have absolutely nothing left to give. This was what the Lord was trying to avoid when He took the disciples aside to rest. Sometimes all we really need is just time to be alone with Jesus. Here is the way William Barclay describes what he calls the rhythm of the Christian life.
“There are two dangers in life. First, there is the danger of a too constant activity. No man can work without rest; and no man can live the Christian life unless he gives himself times with God. It may well be that the whole trouble in our lives is that we give God no opportunity to speak to us, because we do not know how to be still and to listen; we give God no time to recharge us with spiritual energy and strength, because there is no time when we wait upon him….Second, there is the danger of too much withdrawal. Devotion that does not issue in action is not real devotion. Prayer that does not issue in work is not real prayer….The rhythm of the Christian life is the alternate meeting with God in the secret place and serving men in the market place.”
The first danger is working on empty and never stopping to receive. The other danger is a little more subtle. It could be described as overly spiritual and even monastic. Setting yourself into a rigid routine of spirituality without actually ministering to people is the ditch on the other side of the road. We have to learn to practice the rhythm of the Christian life. Receiving and giving is the way of a disciple of Jesus.