My morning Bible study has been in the Gospel of Mark recently. I asked my Father to enable me to understand the significance of what I’d be reading; to really ‘get’ it; to let it touch my heart and my mind as if I were there. I want to know Jesus more, and by watching Him as He spends time here as a man perhaps I’ll catch a glimpse of His heart, of what’s important to Him, of what’s important in life. I’ve only been reading my Bible sporadically with this kind of intention and I think I’m still missing much more than I’m catching – but I had some interesting thoughts this morning. The first was simple yet good for my heart...In chapter 6 the disciples had just returned from being sent out 2 by 2. They preached that people should repent and “they drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” They must have been amazed at what God was doing through them. I can’t even imagine the state of excitement and wonder of mind and heart they would be in after such an experience!
They returned to Jesus and told Him all about it. I imagine the scene as very animated with the disciples talking over each other as they recounted the incredible events they had witnessed and been part of. I imagine Jesus, eyes twinkling, enjoying the stories as he revels in these Galilean fishermen - these ordinary men - amazed by His extraordinary Father. Crowds arrive as they always did when Jesus was nearby, and “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.’”
I don’t know about you, but I love the way Jesus calls His children to Himself, to a quiet, solitary place, even a lonely, desolate, or uninhabited place, to permit us and cause us to cease from labor - to recover and collect our strength, to be refreshed, to give ourselves rest.
Every time I read that, my heart just wants to fly right into His presence to enjoy all of that for myself again! Did you notice as I did today, that He calls us - to give ourselves rest?? Is that not just too cool?? Talk about emotional and spiritual maturity. To be able to take responsibility for ourselves to the point of responding to our Savior’s call to be with Him – and then let ourselves be refreshed and recover our strength as we’re in His presence.
Don’t I need that!! And don’t I suffer for it when I ignore his call. I didn’t realize before that when Jesus says “Come” He says “Deute” which sounds uncannily like our English word ‘duty.’ It’s an interjection. He’s really saying, “Come!” “Come now!” In this instance He is speaking to His disciples just after an extraordinarily exciting time of working along side His Father and serving others. He uses the same expression when He speaks to everyone within earshot and beckons, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
So I wonder… is it my ‘duty’ to go to my Savior when life is pressing in on me? During the spiritual low that frequently follows a very productive, high energy stint of serving do I ignore His call to go and simply be with Him? Is it my responsibility as a simple element of spiritual maturity to be refreshed in His presence when life is naturally wearing me down?
My sweet friends (since I’m discovering I know so many of you), I really believe
- when life and circumstances are pressing in on us,
- when we need a firm place to stand
- when we are weary in bodies, minds or souls
- when we need rest physically or emotionally
- when the load we’ve been carrying has been waaay too heavy for waaay too long
we need to hear the invitation of the One who loves us best of all to go to Him, to go with Him and get some much needed refreshment. It may be time away from our normal circumstances; it may be time in the midst of our circumstances enjoying His presence right there with you. I pray you and I will be quick to accept His invitation – maybe even His command - to go with Him by ourselves “to a quiet place and get some rest."