You Need A Day Off! - Guidelines Devotional

You Need A Day Off!

Guidelines for Living Daily Devotional

July 17, 2020

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28 NLT

“Every person needs to take one day away,” wrote poet, Maya Angelou.  “A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us… Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”[1]

Jesus gave us an example of this principle, this drawing away to rest.  We see Him resting at different times in his life.  After miraculously feeding 5,000 people the book of Matthew says, “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone” (Matt.14:22-23).

Before he had to choose His disciples, Jesus took a day and “went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, He called His disciples to Him. and chose twelve of them, whom He also designated apostles” Luke recounts (Lk. 6:12-13).

And after He and His disciples had been extremely busy, Mark says that “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.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place” (Mk. 6:30-32).

But it wasn’t only work or ministry that Jesus rested from.  Jesus got exhausted by the endless needs of people and tried (in vain) to get away: “Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre,” Mark chapter 7 tells.  “He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet He could not keep His presence secret” (Mk. 7:24).

The Christian life is inherently others-oriented.  Its goal is a life of considering one another as more important than ourselves, and in humility, considering, not only our own interests, but also the interests of others, as the Bible book of Philippians puts it.  (Philippians 2: 3-4) But as we see from Jesus, who was not only fully God, but fully man, giving to others is draining.

“We can compare our life to a pool, and our energy to water,” explains Dr. Pablo Martinez.  “Two streams of water need to flow at the same time. There is output, water flowing out. This is the emotional and spiritual energy that ‘goes out’ as we fulfil our calling. Any caring task will bring some expenditure of energy. Being compassionate and empathetic, as Jesus was, implies identification with our neighbour and, therefore, self-giving. You cannot heal or help mechanically, as if you were repairing a car. The essence of caring is love, and loving means self-giving.”[2]

In Isaiah 58, God refers to his people as a well-watered garden: ‘You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail’ (Isaiah 58:11).  “Notice the order:” Dr. Martinez advises, “first you need to be well-watered (input); then you will naturally become a spring of permanent waters to others (output).”[3]

Are you in need of some refreshing watering today?  Stressful seasons of life, or times of crisis, require even more refilling.  Jesus still says, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31) We are all refreshed in different ways, unique to the temperaments that God gave us.  What refreshes you and makes you aware of God’s love and care?  It may be time spent in nature.  How about a nap?  Reading or listening to music? Find a quiet place and get some rest.

Resource reading: Mark 6:30-45

[1] Angelou, Maya. “Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now.” Goodreads. Goodreads. Accessed May 27, 2020. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/rest.

 

[2] Martinez, Pablo. “Feel Guilty When You Rest?” Lausanne Movement, November 16, 2018. https://www.lausanne.org/about/blog/feel-guilty-when-you-rest.

 

[3] Ibid.


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