Solitude before Service: Jesus’ Example of Rest

IMG_1986.JPGThroughout the gospels we see Jesus and His disciples moving from one place to another, teaching, healing, driving out demons, serving others, and constantly being followed by crowds of people. And though we are certainly not Jesus, our lives can feel a little bit like that, can’t they?

Maybe you are a mom, constantly being followed around by littles (even into the bathroom), who need you get them a snack, fix their toy, take them outside, wipe their nose (or butt), read them a book, fix them another snack because they decided they didn’t want what you gave for the first one…

Or maybe you are a busy business man or woman, whose day is filled with meetings, emails, luncheons, projects, and more meetings.

Or maybe you are in full-time ministry, with messages to prepare, students to text or have coffee with, meetings to attend, curriculum to write, budgets to finalize, and events to attend.

Whatever you are in life, chances are, you’ve got a busy schedule with lots of things to do, people to meet, and places to be. Jesus and His disciples could surely sympathize with you! But let’s look at a couple of passages from Mark that show us something Jesus and His disciples did that is a little different than the way we tend to get through our busy, fast-pasted, hit-the-ground-running-as-soon-as-the-sun-comes-up (or before) lives.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (Mark 1:35-38)

“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.” (Mark 6:30-31)

You see, Jesus prioritized quiet, restful solidarity-for Himself and for His disciples. Many of us think of quiet, restful time as a luxury. But that it not the example we are given in Scripture. Instead, Jesus starts His day with it. He knew that in order to go out and preach and teach and serve (His purpose, the reason He said that He had come), He needed to spend some quiet, alone time with His Father, in prayer.

If the Son of God needed this quiet, alone time before going out to live His calling and purpose for the day, how can we possibly think that we can go live ours each day without it? To be honest, it is quite prideful of us.

Not only did Jesus begin His day this way, but after He and the disciples returned from their missions-missions that had been so busy with people that they hadn’t even had time to eat-He called them to come with Him “to a quiet place and get some rest.” 

Friends, God knows we need quiet, peaceful, restful time with Him. And He knows we need it regularly (as in daily). He created us this way. When we refuse to take that time to slow ourselves down and to “Be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10), we are operating outside of His will for us. We are basically saying, “No God, I can accomplish your purpose for me today without time with you.” How backwards is that?!

So my prayer for you is not that you would stop doing the things He has called you to do each day as a mom, business person, full-time ministry person, etc. If you stopped doing those things, you certainly wouldn’t be living in His bigger picture! No, my prayer for you is that you would seek solitude before stepping into serving. To stop each morning and at the end of each day, and take some time to just rest. To pray. To be quiet. To be still. Just like Jesus did.

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