Mark 6:30-31—The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
If at any time you have ever felt guilty for taking time off, read that scripture again. Slowly. Jesus told them to “come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” The apostles had been busy doing and teaching. They had been ministering and doing what God had called them to do. They were exhausted. Yet, they weren’t saying “We need a vacation.” Jesus was telling them they needed one.
But look again, it said that the apostles had been so busy that they hadn’t had time to eat. They were hungry! And instead of Jesus saying, “Let’s go eat.” He said, “Come away with me by yourselves to find quiet and rest.” I highly doubt they were hitting McDonald’s on the way there. Jesus could have fed them. Later in this same chapter, He feeds 5000. Feeding 12 would have been a piece of cake. So why didn’t Jesus say, “Let’s get something to eat”? I don’t know, but I think it was because He knew their greatest need was rest and time in His presence. They needed refueled spiritually before they could refuel physically. He knew the importance of resting and refreshing to remain effective in ministry. And in life.
That scripture spoke to me this morning as I was taking time to read my Bible on this day after Thanksgiving. I’m on Thanksgiving break and just as I was feeling guilty about doing absolutely nothing, I read that passage.
When I had cancer, I did nothing but rest. I had no other choice. I would get frustrated that I wasn’t doing anything, and there was literally nothing I could do about it. The chemo made me so sick that I could barely hold my head up. Walking across the room made me so short of breath that I felt like I would collapse.
Once I finished treatment and regained some strength, I couldn’t wait to get back to work and doing all the things that I hadn’t been able to do. At the end of June, I hit the ground running and hadn’t stopped to take a breath since then. I was working. I was doing youth ministry. And worship ministry. And trying to keep up with everything at home. I didn’t take time to rest, and I felt like I was running on empty.
I couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving break when I could breathe. Because my life was out of balance. In all of my doing, I forgot the importance of rest.
I’m not the only one. And neither are you. The apostles also forgot to stop and rest in the quiet that is Jesus. In His presence, I trade chaos for calm. In His presence, I trade noise for peace. I trade exhaustion for renewal; depletion for restoration; hunger for satisfaction. In Him I trade busyness for rest.