“The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 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. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.” (Mark 6:30-32)
It’s that time of year when many of us think about taking vacations. I know, Don and I have made some plans for vacations that we are looking forward to taking. It is a time to get away from the day-to-day routines of life; to relax and rejuvenate our bodies and spirits. Even those who are retired can benefit from a change in scenery, or at the very least, a change in routine.
Since creation, God has directed us to rest, just as He did on the seventh day. Even Jesus took breaks; admittedly, however, sometimes his best made plans did not always work out because people were continually seeking him out for one reason or another. Yet, there were times when he succeeded. It was time well spent with his Father, and sometimes with his disciples. As the above scripture points out, Jesus also insisted on his disciples taking time to rest.
While taking in the beauty of the natural scenery of our temporary surroundings we may find fresh opportunities to meditate upon the greatness of God and to praise Him. As we play, eat and visit with friends and family, we may find God’s love touching us afresh, infusing us with much needed assurances of our value to Him. In moments of solitude, our thoughts and prayers may guide us down new paths that connect us even more intimately with our Heavenly Father. Rest brings many blessings.
Those of us left behind while vacationers are away, should pray for the travelers’ safe-keeping as well as for their physical and spiritual renewal. As members of the larger family of our travelers, we will await with joy for our brothers and sisters return; and welcome the natural influence their experience of refreshment will certainly bring to our faith community. For the rest that we seek and need as individuals, also has a way of bringing returns of renewed energy and, perhaps, fresh ideas to the faith community. When we experience tiredness and burnout personally, whether it is related to church ministries or not…it effects the faith community in distressing ways. Jesus knew for himself, that time away to rest…even those that may have been brief, refreshed him for the ministry he was called to do. Why should we think it is any different for us?
So, yes, Don and I will be going on vacation to relax and be refreshed. I hope you too will find avenues through which to find the same for yourself. While we are gone, I hope you will support those who come to fill the pulpit…bringing to you the inspired word of God. And as each of us takes those opportunities for rest, may God bless us with a renewed spirit of commitment for His service to one another and for the building of His kingdom.
Blessings to All,