Bible Reading Blog — January 30, 2016

30 Jan

Today’s Readings — Leviticus 20-23 & Mark 6:30-34

The principle of rest is an important one in the life and ministry of Jesus and in His interactions with His disciples. In the aftermath of the disciple’s ministry in Mark chapter 6, Jesus calls them away to a quiet place for rest. But the crowds upon seeing the disciples, recognized them and followed after them. Jesus, having compassion on the crowds, healed many who gathered there.

Three principles about rest emerge for me from this passage.

1. The Call to Rest Comes in the Context of a Life of Service.

Jesus calls the disciples to recharge after a period of intense ministry. Rest should not be the goal of our lives but when our lives are rightly taken up with service we should make sure to rest. If comfort, hobbies, interests, and personal peace are our goals, we are straying from the will of God. But comfort, hobbies and the rest are not wrong as long as they are not gods. These things can be a good means of refreshment when we are engaged in God’s kingdom work.

2. Rest Involves Quieting Our Souls.

Jesus calls His disciples to a desolate place because there they would find no busyness, no distractions, and a true opportunity to recharge. In our world, so far removed from the world of the ancient near east, even five minutes of quiet inactivity seems like an eternity. We need, for the good of body and soul, to recover the ancient way of silence and solitude. I know there are dangers there in the minds of some, a fear that we might drift off into mysticism unanchored by the clear revelation of God’s Word. But as I see it, the greater danger is in taking no time to contemplate what God has revealed to us in His Word and taking no time to consider what God is doing in our lives.

3. Rest Must Sometimes Take a Back Seat to Compassion

We may have great plans for how we will use an afternoon but sometimes life breaks in and disrupts those plans. That is ok. If we are guided by love and compassion sometimes we will be spent in God’s service. This can not be a good long-term way of life for us but it is sometimes necessary. So do not fear disrupting your schedule for the sake of a need. Sometimes that is exactly what God wants us to do, because for some of us a schedule can become an idol or an aid to self-centeredness.

 

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