"COME APART AND REST A WHILE"
"And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat"-Mark 6:31
Tuesday was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and there was a crispness in the air which reminded me of fall. A couple of the brethren and myself had met that morning to enjoy a time of fellowship and get a little R & R around the golf course. We had only played a couple of holes and I already felt as if I had been on a vacation. I could not have felt more relaxed had I been 1000 miles from home. As we enjoyed the beauty of God's creation and some brotherly fellowship I thought about the practical instruction that Jesus gave to his disciples, "And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat" –Mark 6:31. This suggestion came at a very difficult time in their lives. They had recently learned of the death of their beloved brother, John the Baptist, and they came to Jesus telling Him of their labors and burdens. Their burden was heavy and their trials difficult. Jesus knew they needed some rest.
In the fast paced society in which we live today, these simple words should remind us all that from time to time we need to come apart from our toils and labors and relax or we will come apart at the seams. I am not suggesting that we neglect our families, our duties as parents, husbands and wives, or neglect our jobs and God given responsibilities. Too much of that is seen in our recreational society. Nor am I suggesting that we make a god out of recreation. But I do believe that Jesus recognized the fact that we all need rest, time away from duty and responsibility, to let the brain air out and sweep the cobwebs from our minds.
It seems to me that many fits of depression can result from a lack of coming apart to rest a while in some solitary place where we may leave our cares for just a little while. These "had no leisure so much as to eat." It was not because they did not want to continue their labors. Nor was it because they did not enjoy their labors among the people. They needed to rest so that they might labor the better.
Recorded in his "Lectures to my students" is a message delivered by C.H. Spurgeon to his ministerial friends entitled "The Minister's Fainting Fits". Though all who read this will not be ministers, the good instruction will suit the case of all who labor endlessly in the home and at the job. Here is a portion of what he said: "The bow cannot be always bent without fear of breaking. Repose is as needful to the mind as sleep to the body….Even the earth must lie fallow and have her Sabbaths, and so must we. Hence the wisdom and compassion of our Lord, when he said to his disciples, 'Let us go into the desert and rest awhile'……The Master knows better than to exhaust his servants and quench the light of Israel. Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength…..Fishermen must mend their nets, and we must every now and then repair our mental waste and set our machinery in order for future service. To tug the oar from day to day, like a galley-slave who knows no holidays, suits not mortal men. Mill-streams go on and on for ever, but we must have our pauses and our intervals. Who can help being out of breath when the race is continued without intermission? Even beasts of burden must be turned out to grass occasionally; the very sea pauses at ebb and flood; earth keeps the Sabbath of the wintry months; and man, even when exalted to be God's ambassador, must rest or faint; must trim his lamp or let it burn low; must recruit his vigour or grow prematurely old. It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less…..Let no tender conscience doubt the lawfulness of going out of harness for awhile, but learn from the experience of others the necessity and duty of taking timely rest."
One final observation. While they came apart to rest a while they were with Jesus. Their rest and recreation were not divorced from the Lord. If our R & R were not in moderation, I do not believe Jesus would go with us to neglect our families or our duties. Their enjoyment was clean, wholesome, fruitful, and with His companionship and approval, much more enjoyable. It may be on the golf course, in the garden, at the fishing hole, or just walking under the canopy of God's creation, but let us all take the time to come apart and rest awhile!
Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00.
By His mercy and grace,
Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor