• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Going Slow

Jesus’ words to His disciples in Mark 6:31, in the midst of a hectic ministry schedule, should cause us to stop and reflect on our need for “rest”.  Jesus says to them: “”Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”  For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”

When I say “rest”, I am not talking about inactivity, but about stepping back and asking some hard questions about what rules or governs our time.  Getting away for holiday is important, but there is another “rest” we need to consider as well.  Ministry can be intoxicating.  The ‘rush’ of people in need and the feeling that we are having an impact in the lives of others can drive us past our limits: “and they had no leisure even to eat.”

Here are some questions that come to mind in this regard:

  • How well I am able to say ‘no’?  This is not to imply that we say ‘no’ to every new ministry opportunity that comes our way, but most of us struggle with over commitment rather than under commitment.  Learning to say ‘no’ means I am learning to prioritize well.
  • How have I become blind to God’s work in my life and another’s life by becoming their savior instead of Jesus?  Sometimes our desire to help another actually hinders another from learning to live out their faith on their own with Jesus.
  • What would it look like for me to ‘go slow’ and gain another perspective on life and ministry at this juncture in my walk with Christ?

These are not easy questions, nor is this an easy exercise.  It is interesting that Jesus called the disciples as a group to get away together.  Maybe this is another reason why we need the input of a community around us as we seek to “rest”, step back and evaluate what we should be giving ourselves to in ministry.


4 Responses

  1. A very timely word. I think one of those 3 questions will catch us at a point of unrecognized failure to “rest”. The second one is a challenge for any of us in one-on-one discipleship relationships, and it certainly challenged me.

    • Those three questions had been turning around in my mind as I meditated on that short text from Mark 6. The desire to be a ‘saviour’ to others is a struggle for many of us. I guess it’s part of learning to be self-less rather than self-centered by turning others toward God rather than toward ourselves in their spiritual journey.

  2. Like John, I have had to fight over the last 20-25 years from seeking to being a savior to someone or some activity. This has been one of the benefits of doing silence and solitude retreats (3-4 times a yr). Stepping away to gain a better perspective is critical to keeping the main thing the main thing and it isn’t me!

    • Appreciate that word Steve. One thing that struck me though in this short text is that Jesus calls the disciples away as a group. I’m all for silence and solitude retreats as an individual, but there is something more to mine in this text about ‘getting away’ in community.

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