Rest for Your Soul
Rest often eludes us. Even if we try to carve out time for rest, our plans may be sabotaged. The same thing happened to Jesus and His disciples. I encourage you to read all of Mark chapter 6. Several verses are printed for you here.
Mark 6:7, 12-13, 30-33 (ESV)
7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 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. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.
Digging into God’s Word
It is Saturday, my day off. By 10:30 this morning, I had taken an hour-long bike ride, weeded and watered the garden, and started a load of laundry. Yep, rest comes hard for me.
It did for Jesus and His disciples, too!
If you are able, read all of Mark chapter 6. The juxtaposition of events is jarring. Jesus sent out the twelve disciples to preach, drive out demons, and heal the sick. We also learn in this chapter that before this, Herod’s daughter had deceived him into beheading John the Baptist. Jesus had lost his beloved cousin.
In verse 30, the disciples returned from their travels and talked to Jesus a mile a minute. You can sense their excitement over all they had done and taught. Between that and the commotion of people coming and going, Jesus and His disciples were not even able to grab a bite to eat. Jesus knows our earthly frailty:
“Come away by yourselves to a desolate place,” Jesus said to his disciples, “and rest a while.” You have to wonder if the rest was for not only the overexcited disciples, but also Jesus, who had lost his cousin and friend.
Work is hard. Even if we are effective and our work is successful, it takes something out of us. We might enjoy pressing for and meeting the deadline or playing imaginary games with our preschooler, but we were not meant to be “on” constantly. Trying life events often drain us even more, sapping any ounce of energy we thought we might be able to muster. We need rest.
Ever feel like your plans for quiet time get sabotaged?
If you read past verse 32, you’ll see that the people shortly found Jesus and the disciples in the desolate (quiet) place. So many people followed them, even arriving ahead of them–and they were stranded in the evening without food–that Jesus was led to feed all of them. Jesus and the disciples were seeking rest, and instead they ended up feeding thousands of people.
Keep reading. In verses 45 and 46, having fed the people, Jesus dismissed them, made His disciples get into a boat and go ahead of Him, and went up on a mountainside to pray. Jesus on the mountain and the disciples in the boat: They finally were able to rest.
After my hectic Saturday morning, I took an afternoon nap. Rest is good for the soul. Have you had enough rest lately?
As you are able, spend time with God, reflecting on these questions or journaling your thoughts.
- In Exodus 20:8-11, as part of the giving of the Ten Commandments, God commanded His people to rest: “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” The purpose seems twofold: to honor the holiness of God and to gain physical rest. How are you doing in that area of your life? If you’re not setting aside time to be with the Lord, take a moment right now to plan your next time with Him.
- There is a deeper rest than what we discussed in today’s devotion, and that is the rest of fully knowing Jesus. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says, “28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Do you need that kind of rest today? Tell Jesus all about it. He is ready to give you the truest rest.
- Meditate on Psalm 62:1-2:
1 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
I’m glad you are here! This is the spot where you can Meet with God and Grow in Faith. I would love to keep in touch with you.
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We only have one more devotion to go in the series “All in a Day’s Work,” but you can find the previous devotions at this link.
Previous series include these:Print
Some work I do around the house I actually find rest in. One of the best times I have with God is a walk in the park after a jog. Where I struggle with rest is getting my thoughts off all the, important but fleeting, aspects of life in our society.
My daughter shared your devotions and blog with me a couple weeks ago. I find your topics, interpretation and insight to be so amazingly spot on. You are brave enough to share your personal struggles for growth and in so doing, you open the door for us to acknowledge ours as well. It serves to break down a barrier that comes between us and our relationship with Jesus, I think. Thank you for your ministry. In just these few weeks you have already enriched my life, my faith and my relationships.
Thank you so very much for taking the time to write! I hope you see this response, as I was a little delayed getting on to check things today. Your feedback means a great deal to me. It has been a challenge for me to be vulnerable–to open myself up–in these devotions, so it really helps to know it has resonated and has helped people grow closer to Jesus. That is the goal: to grow closer to the Lord. I am so glad to have heard from you! Thank you for your encouragement.