“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 6:31, NIV
For all of us, there are times in life when rest can seem nearly impossible to find. In the midst of the day-to-day craziness, we should not forget the importance of rest. God designed rest with a very important purpose, and we should be careful not to neglect it.
In Mark 6, the disciples had been working very hard and teaching many people. They were so busy they did not even have the time to eat. However, Jesus encouraged them to follow him and get some rest in his presence.
When we are busy, we might not take the time to rest and spend time with Jesus. Perhaps, the chaos overcomes the quiet in our lives and we are overwhelmed by the world. However, we should come to Jesus and seek rest.
We must approach rest with the proper mindset. It is not about ourselves or having “me time.” Rather it is about refueling, honoring God and serving him with our time and hearts.
If we look a little further in the Mark passage, we can see Jesus did not forget what his purpose was even in the pursuit of rest, “So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things,” (Mark 6: 32-34).
Jesus still took the time for compassion. He still cared about others and leading them. Rest is important but not because it will make us happy, but because God designed us to rest and so that we can serve and honor him with our lives.
In This Weekly Devotional:
The Source of True Rest
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” — Genesis 2:2-3, NIV
Sometimes finding rest can feel impossible. We may be physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted and rest doesn’t seem to be available to us. So where do we find true rest? Where do we find rest that is fulfilling and satisfying?
When we are in these situations we can turn to God, the creator of rest. He himself rested from work after creating the world. Not in the same way us as humans must in order to survive and remain healthy but rather in taking a break and taking in his creation.
He is the source of our rest. The one we can turn to and the one who gives us the strength and opportunity to rest. As David put it, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken,” (Psalm 62:1-2, NIV).
On our own, we search aimlessly for rest and are unable to be satisfied with it. With God, our souls can find rest. In the New Testament Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV). What a joy that is.
Embracing Spiritual Rest
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” — Psalm 46:10, NIV
When it comes to spiritual rest, we have a choice. We can either avoid it and run from it or embrace it. Many of us have heard the story of Mary and Martha in Luke Chapter 10. During this occurrence, Jesus was visiting the two sisters. Martha was busy trying to make sure everything was in order and all the tasks were done. Mary was content just sitting and listening to Jesus. Jesus praised Mary’s attitude and said that it was the better path.
Rest is a gift from God but it is our decision on how we will receive it. Are we worried or upset about embracing rest like Martha? Perhaps, we are hesitant to ever take a break because we want to keep pushing ourselves. On the other hand, perhaps we are like Mary and embrace moments of quiet and being in God’s presence when they arise. We can choose to embrace spiritual rest and let our souls be renewed.
Approved by the local outreach coordinator of the Office of Spiritual Life on March 6, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.