30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they went away in the boat by themselves to a remote place, 33 but many saw them leaving and recognized them. People ran there by land from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34 So as He stepped ashore, He saw a huge crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then He began to teach them many things.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
You’ve been there, haven’t you? Those days when you are so busy meeting the needs of everyone else that you fail to find any time to meet your own?
In today’s story, the disciples were so engrossed in ministry that they weren’t even making time to grab some lunch. Did Jesus commend them for their superior dedication to the cause and affirm by His silence that this was a good way to serve the Lord? No. He said, “Hey guys, let’s take off for a little while and get some rest.” There is much to be learned from this.
Any teacher would find it really difficult to teach on a daily basis if she never took the time for personal study and lesson preparation. The same is true for all of us. Before you can effectively pour into those whom God has placed in your path of influence, you must drink deeply from the well yourself.
Jesus was telling His disciples, “I know the need is great. I can see it coming. But I don’t want you to burn out before we really get started. Come away with Me. Be refreshed. Then you’ll be ready to get back to what I’ve prepared you to do.”
As Christians, we are called, even commanded, to be engaged in the lives of others. God wants us to use our gifts, experiences and passions to impact the world for the sake of Jesus Christ. But in order for us to be effective in the ministry we have been given, it is imperative that we take the time to refuel by getting in the Word and having moments of quiet to simply rest in the presence of God.
As a mother of three, I long for moments of silence and solitude. When the kids are at school, I often keep everything turned off so I can give my ears a break and my mind a chance to rejuvenate. At times my kids will pile in the car and say, “Why don’t you have the radio on? Isn’t it boring to sit here in silence?”
The truth that I explain to them is that I am not driving in silence. I find driving to be one of the best times to pour out my heart to the Lord and to listen for His response. Because I have to focus my physical efforts on keeping the car moving along the road to my destination, I am prohibited from doing my typical multi-tasking. It is one of the only times I get still long enough to have an extended time of prayer and fellowship with the Lord.
Write out a schedule of your typical day. Prayerfully look over it and determine where there are some places you could be intentional about being silent. Is it in the car during your commute? Could you cut your lunch hour a little short and close your office door? Could you get up a little earlier than you usually do? Ask the Lord to show you where you could make room for this essential discipline.
Once you have identified ways and times to incorporate quiet into your day, commit to doing so. You may begin with keeping the radio (and your cell phone) off on the way to work. You might even find that you become addicted to the quiet before long!
If you are feeling burned out in your area of ministry, begin looking for ways to take a step back and get alone with Jesus. It’s time to respond to His invitation to “rest for a while.”