I’m continuing my lectio divina reading of the gospel of Mark, and in the first half of chapter six, here’s the phrase that jumped out at me — rest a while. The entire verse is :
“Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31a
Jesus is speaking to his disciples (and to me). Previously He had sent them out on a journey, two by two, in order to call people to repentance. When they came back, they told Him all about what they had done and taught. They were no doubt excited, but tired. In addition, John the Baptist had been beheaded not long before this. He was known to some of them, including Jesus, and they were probably still grieving and upset. Jesus is letting them know that these are circumstances that require rest– and that’s okay. In fact, it’s necessary.
I don’t know about anybody else, but I tend to forget this. It’s hard for me to rest. I grew up with folks who had a strong work ethic, and “relaxing” just seemed to be an synonym for “being lazy.” I try to keep going even when I’m tired, even when I’m sad, even when I know I’m not performing at top form because I’ve convinced myself that people need and expect me to behave this way. Maybe I even think that God needs me to behave this way.
Yet here, Jesus, who is God incarnate, tells me to get some rest. He doesn’t need me to do more things; He wants me to do one thing well –obeying the call He has for me. I won’t be able to do that if I’m tired, distracted and overwhelmed.
So, make time for being as well as doing. Make time for praying and listening. Make time for rest.
For more on the book of Mark see these posts: