Mark 6:31 (NCV)
“Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves, and we will go to a lonely place to get some rest.’”
Each year our lives get busier. We have more responsibilities at home, work, and church. According to a recent ABC news report, 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week. Now, add on to this our responsibilities with our family, church, and other community organizations. Each year we all get busier and rest becomes more evasive.
When I think about Jesus, I first think about the miracles. I also think about His teaching and The Sermon on the Mount. I am certainly most grateful for Him dying for our sins and conquering death for us all. One image that does not come to mind is Jesus resting.
Jesus modelled rest to us as a means of obedience to the Father. You may recall that Jesus did not come to replace the law of Moses but rather to fulfill it. Matthew 5:17 teaches, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” One of the Ten Commandments given to Moses was to set aside time for rest.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:8-11).
Jesus retreated from the crowds to find rest for Himself and His disciples. According to Mark 6:31, “Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves, and we will go to a lonely place to get some rest.’” God wants us to life a joy-filled life. He also wants us to show His love to others. He realizes that we can do neither if we are worn out. If we recognize the true importance of our bodies as indicated in 1 Cor. 6:19-20, then rest seems more essential than a luxury. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”
As we enter a new year, I encourage you to honor God with your bodies by seeking rest to renew your mind, body, and soul.
Prayer: Dear God, We live busy, hectic lives. We are tired and need rest but often feel guilty if we seek rest. Help us to understand that in rest we honor you and obey your commands. As we rest, give us the assurance that you are with us and we are with you. Awaken us from our rest with a renewed determination to seek your face and do your will.
Todd Shupe is a native of Carrollton, IL, a small rural town in west central Illinois. He earned his BS and MS in Wood Science from the University of Illinois and a PhD in Wood Science from Louisiana State University. He has a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma and is a Green Associate in LEED. He worked as a Professor and ISO 17025 Lab Director for 20 years and now works as a wood science consultant at www.drtoddshupe.com to continue to help companies bring new building products and wood preservatives to market, conduct in house training, improve product quality and production, and serve as an expert witness. Todd is currently in training to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist under the direction of the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is concurrently in training to become a Lay Minister under the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, fishing, and writing inspirational Christian blogs at toddshupe.com and todd-shupe.com.