February 23 - Get Some Rest

By Louis Smith

Today's Scripture: Mark 6:30-56

Central Thought: Effective service requires times of rest.

    He was a successful doctor—involved in the community, respected by everyone—yet he took his own life at the height of his career. His death was a shock. Those who knew him pointed to common problems: he was very busy; he had few outlets in life; he took little time off; and he seemed depressed. These problems may or may not have contributed to the physician's suicide. In any case, they do seem to suggest the need for rest and recreation.

    One thing is certain: people need to 'get away” from time to time. In Mark 6, Jesus pointed this out to His disciples. They excitedly reported their ministry successes to Jesus (verse 30). These triumphs created such a demand on them that they didn't even have time to eat (verse 31). Jesus obviously realized their need to get away, so He took them to a solitary place to rest. Think of it—in the midst of successful, thriving ministry with all its demands, Jesus still wanted His disciples to find a quiet place and withdraw for a time.

    The solitary time didn't last long. People desiring ministry soon found Jesus and His disciples. Christ's compassion went out to them, and He began to teach the crowd until late in the day (verses 32-34). It was so late, in fact, that the disciples urged Jesus to let the people go back to town so they could eat. But Jesus gave a surprising response. He told the disciples to feed the multitude…and the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 followed.

    Later that evening, the disciples were caught in the middle of a ferocious storm at sea. Here they experienced yet another miracle: Jesus walked on the water, calmed the storm, and guided them safely to shore (verses 47 through 52). On shore, Jesus and His disciples ministered to many people, and Jesus healed the sick (verses 53-56)—once again.

    The message is clear: ministry does not suffer when those who minister step aside for some rest; miracles do not become absent simply because the minister takes some time off; a time of rest doesn't mean a distance from Jesus. Take time to rest. Your effectiveness in life and in ministry depends on it.

Devotional Prayer: Help me, Lord, to find the time and place to step aside and rest during my busy week.

Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 14:1-57; Mark 6:30-56; Psalm 40:1-10; Proverbs 10:11-12