The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Mark 6:30 and 31 NIV
This season, I am looking at Lent differently. Many in the Christian faith choose to observe Lent by fasting from something (meat, sugar, TV, social media…) in the weeks approaching Easter. I have often done the same. But this year, I have chosen to fast from my “to do” list. I am making room for rest, exchanging busyness for some time in quiet contemplation. As the pandemic numbers go down and the world opens up, it seems life is speeding up faster than I want it to.
I am weary. As I write, I am recovering from an illness that has hung on for eighteen months. I am learning to accept what my body can and cannot do, build margins around my health, and allow others to pick up my slack. I don’t like it, yet invincible I am not. So, I lean in. I transfer trust in my strength to my Savior’s.
In God’s word, we read how the Messiah repeatedly made room for rest; it was a priority in His ministry. He took His men away from the expectant demanding masses to recharge and He often got away by Himself.
We find an example of this in Mark, chapter 6. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two to minister to the people of Galilee. He gave them His divine authority to preach, heal, and cast out demons. They returned to Him with accounts of their triumphs and the stories of God’s achievements. The crowds clamored to get to the Master and His men who needed rest and care after a busy time. So, the Savior insisted that they steal away together to refocus, recover, sabbath, and spend intimate time as a group.
I love that Christ implores us in His word to come to Him for rest, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NIV. It’s like a holy permission slip. In fact, Jesus called Himself the Lord of the Sabbath in Matthew 12:8.
Hebrews 4:9-10 NIV says, “There remains then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their work, just as God did from His.” This Lenten season is the perfect time for us, the people of God, to take as much off the “to-do” list as possible, follow the Savior’s example, and cease striving. Let us sit at His feet and fix our eyes and hearts closer than we ever have before on His death and resurrection.
Let us lean into God’s Sabbath rest.
“To enter our Sabbath rest, we must come to God in humble submission to His truth and in complete dependence on Him. In order to cease striving, we must transfer our trust away from our own abilities, our own accomplishments, our own strength, and place it on His provisions.”
Charles Swindoll, Jesus: The Greatest Life of All
- Are you weary? Do you need to cease striving and take some things off your “to-do” list?
- Write down ways you will build margin in your life this spring.