Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves, Mark 6:30-32, NKJV.
I have heard that sometimes the best way to keep your spiritual testimony intact is to take a nap. Being a Martha-type of girl, I tend to “push through” and finish the task instead of taking a break and returning to it later. So, there I was at 3:30 in the afternoon, still plugging along and getting wearier by the minute. We were working on good things, ministry things, but I was tired. I went and sat down for a minute in the living room, and I woke up an hour later, interrupted by the normal noises in our household.
Jesus had sent the disciples out on their first big “mission.” He had sent them out to preach about the Kingdom and tell others about Him. They were excited about the results—they “…told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.” Jesus recognized that this type of work was more than just a physical exhaustion—there was a spiritual component too. He told them to come aside to a deserted place and rest a while, with Him. They were going to go somewhere to spend some time refreshing both physically and spiritually.
And the crowds interrupted their plans. When they went across the way, the crowds figured out where they were going and beat them there. Jesus had compassion on them and spent hours teaching them, but the disciples wanted to send them away (Mark 6:36). Instead, Jesus asks them to find food and He feeds them all through a miracle feeding. He even fed the disciples—and gave each of them a basket of leftovers. Twelve baskets—one for each disciple. Jesus then tells them to get into a boat and He walks on the water right in front of them just a few hours later. I wonder if the disciples snacked on their leftovers as they made their way across the lake.
So, what’s the lesson? Never plan to rest because the plans will be interrupted? Don’t worry about your physical health when you are doing ministry? Give up? No. I think the lesson we find here is that we look for the ways in which Jesus is refreshing us and take our turn in the “rest boat” when He tells us to. Listen to His leading and pay attention when He is telling you to rest. He just might walk on the water in your life and show up in such a personal, powerful way that you would miss otherwise. Don’t worry about the interruptions; look forward to the deserted place, or the boat, and go there with your Savior when He asks.
Thought-provoker: Are we needing more time in a deserted place, or in the rest boat, with Jesus so He can recharge and refresh us?
Lord, thank You for showing us that it is okay to rest, and it is okay to be interrupted. Help us find the place You want us to be today so we don’t miss Your miracles! In Jesus’ name, Amen.