“Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while”. Who said that? Jesus did in the gospel of Mark chapter 6 verse 31. This is shocking to me. It’s so Jesus and so contrary to how I tend to view Him. He really wants what’s best for me. It’s hard for me to get that through my head. I tend to view Jesus as the person who only wants things from me but He also wants things for me. Jesus gave this invitation to His disciples at a time when they were highly successful and productive. I would encourage you to read Mark 6 in it’s entirety so you can get the context in which it was said. It’s so cool. Jesus invited His disciples to rest and He is still inviting us to come away to a desolate place and rest with Him.
When is the last time you took Jesus up on this invitation? I know, so busy right? Busyness is an epidemic few escape from. Busyness leads to burn out and this condition is sweeping our country like a plague. It’s the real deal. My son recently asked me if I would like to travel to space and I said no. I’m afraid of heights and FYI I watched that gravity movie. No thanks. But, the one thing that is appealing to me about space is that it’s quiet. You could do a real soul retreat with God up there. The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We need time and space to cultivate this love.
Sometimes I think we don’t take Jesus up on this invitation because we are scared. Going away to a desolate place and resting creates room for all the stuff that busyness shuts up and suppresses. It gives a voice to the deepest of our souls longings and a pulpit for the things that are really bothering us. To put it simply, you are not going to take Jesus up on this invitation until you are ready to deal with the realities of your own soul.
If you allow rest to be defined by the context and verse its found in it would look something like this – leaving a current environment of work/productivity and privilege to enter a place where those elements are not present. Rest is a from to thing. You leave something to go towards something else. It might mean unplugging, turning your phone off, etc. It might take time to learn how to disconnect and get your soul to a place of rest. Some of you might find that resting is harder than working. To me the most important part of resting is making sure my soul is close to God. The disciples were invited to come away to a desolate place with Jesus and to rest with Him. This leads me to believe that rest without God is vain.
Some of you are wondering where you could or should go if you carved out some time to get away to a desolate place and rest. I like water so lakes work for me. The key to the place is whether or not you can rest there. I love golf so sitting in a parking lot in front of Golf Galaxy wouldn’t work for me. As you are thinking about where to go ask yourself this question, will my soul be able to rest with God there?
I would like to be part of a generation that takes Jesus up on His invitation to get away to a desolate place and rest. Will you join me? I would love to hear what happened when you took Jesus up on His invitation and got alone with God for a time. I think it would really encourage a lot of people.