The Need for Rest | Mark 6:30–32

30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said 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. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.

The apostles return after their apostolic mission.  They dutifully but joyfully report all that transpired on their first journey.  We can see a lesson in just verse 30—ministers of Christ are responsible for what they do in ministry, and they must teach the doctrine of the Lord.  Even so, they’ve been burdened now with ministry for some time, and we see in this passage that rest is beneficial.

The Lord modeled rest.  The fact that God created us to need sleep evidences this, and in this passage, it’s clear that they needed a reprieve from their swamped ministry.  Moreover, while as the pre-incarnate Creator, He didn’t need it, He still rested on the seventh day (Gn 2:1–3).  The Sabbath command in Scripture reminds us that the Lord does not require human labor, and each time of rest reflects a message that God gives. 

The Lord provides ultimate rest.  While we should not make turn this passage into a mere analogy, it’s true that those with the Lord find rest there.  Each moment of rest we have points to the full Sabbath rest that is to come.  Just as He does not require our strivings for our entry into His eternal rest, He will provide a time when all striving against sin and the world will cease.  

Obviously, we can go too far in rest and recreation.  Scripture condemns the sluggard (Pv 6:9; 13:4), and the man unwilling to work shouldn’t eat (2 Th 3:10).  It’s possible to pursue frivolity and meaninglessness in life, and that is not a rest that God calls us to.

Considering all this, rest is part of a fully-orbed Christian worldview.  Rest can be enjoyed as a good gift from God (Js 1:17).  It is God-honoring if it, like all things, is pursued to His glory (1 Cor 10:31).  Just as Jesus and His disciples sought rest, you two should periodically seek time with God away from work for both physical and spiritual restoration.

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