” 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
Sometimes stopping our usual activities for an hour or even a day just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes we need a complete change of scenery to really rest and renew our energy. This was the case in the verses above. The apostles had been sent out by Jesus to do his work. They preached, drove out demons and healed. They traveled, staying with different people in every town. When they returned, so many people were coming and going around them they didn’t have time to eat. They were no doubt exhausted. Jesus instructs them to come with him to a quiet place, a place that is “remote” so they can rest.
Have you ever done this? Today we would probably call this sort of rest a retreat. It isn’t just a vacation, because Jesus doesn’t say — let’s each go off to our favorite spot and engage in the activities we most enjoy. We’ll meet up again after some R&R. He says, come with me. A retreat is a time of rest with Christ. Like the Sabbath, it is a way to reset and refocus our attention on the One who matters most. The apostles has been busy doing God’s work, but they needed to sit still and remember why they were doing that work and Who they were doing it for. All of us can benefit from this sort of periodic rest to renew us in our Christian walk.
There are different sorts of retreats. I have been on Marriage and Engaged Encounter Retreats, Via de Cristo Retreats, silent retreats and retreats for Pastors and their wives. Each one is different. Some are quiet, others are very social. They all have two things in common: a removal from daily life and surroundings, and a program that puts Christ at the center.
If you haven’t made a retreat you might want to give it a try. Look for retreat centers in your area; find an organization such as Via de Cristo that sponsors retreats; make your own retreat by going away to a “quiet place” where you can pray, read the Bible and be along with God. You won’t regret the time you spend with Him.