Rendezvous | Mark 6:30-34
The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.
So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke—like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them. Mark 6:30-34 | MSG
The practice of stopping one day a week – of only going 24/6 – is not new for humanity. It started the day after human history began and it made it through the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. It didn’t perish when it was exported to the New World. It survived the American Civil War and was still going strong when women got the vote. It prospered in the Depression, and it blasted off at the dawn of the Space Age. Only in the last few minutes of time has it been misplaced. Where did our day of rest go, and how can we live without it? ~ Matthew Sleeth, 24/6
Constant coming and going. No time even to eat. And we say the Bible isn’t relevant to our times. We know this tune! As Sleeth goes on to observe, “We don’t just work at one thing anymore. We drink coffee and drive cars. We drive cars and talk on the phone. We talk on the phone and shop in the cloud…and fix dinner…and watch the news. In the last twenty years, work is up 15 percent and leisure is down 30 percent, and things are only going to get worse. Yet statistics tell only a part of the story. They don’t account for multi-tasking, nor do they reflect leisure time per family unit. Mom works two jobs, and so do Dad and Sis. Junior is in kindergarten, and he no longer takes a nap after lunch or goes home in the afternoon, as I did. He is in school all day…” As we entered our technological age, there was much speculation about how we’d eventually be struggling to fill our days as our workload shrank due to the efficiency of our machines. But more technology tends to free up time for us to do…more. This isn’t a guilt trip for being busy and productive. Today’s reading is just a reminder that Jesus recognized the need for he and his guys to get away and rest awhile – and also a reminder of just how challenging it can be to do that – persistent crowds of people and priorities tend to find us like heat-seeking missiles. Some calls need to be answered, even as Jesus answers the call here. But often we need to develop greater facility in utilizing call waiting, and intentionally pursue another kind of rendezvous.
To what extent do you feel you control your schedule – as opposed to your schedule controlling you? When is the last time you had a real day off?
Lord, help me develop a sense of when to get away for a rendezvous with rest. Help me to discern when calls need to be answered, and when I simply need to silence the ringer.
Plan to take a genuine, bona fide day off within the next ten days. No work. No chores. No email (at least not work email). Try being as unproductive as possible for a day – particularly if you are a bit of an overachiever. Read a book just for kicks. Take a leisurely walk/hike outdoors. Watch an old movie or two. Bask in the warmth of the sun (if available). Enjoy a nice conversation with an old friend. And through it all, breathe out thanks to God for the gift of rest as you look for his hand through it all.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.