….that wonderful time of year when many of us are looking forward to a vacation very soon. It may be just a few days off at home doing things we haven’t gotten to do during the year, or we may have a family vacation planned that will take you to an exotic location. (That’s what I’D like to do; in fact, I think I hear one of these chairs calling me right now)!!
Whatever your plans, I think God actually CALLS us to get away and spend time with Him.
Jesus and the disciples often spent very long days either traveling from city to city on foot, or ministering to the crowds that seemed to show up everywhere He went. He led a very busy life, having only three years to teach the disciples how to spread the gospel with their endless questions; healing and teaching those who were amazed by Him and became His followers; all the while setting an example for His disciples. We think our stress is bad, but how would you like to have crowds of people following you, pulling on your clothes, and yelling, “Heal me, heal me.”
We look at our lives today and often grumble because we stay on overload, and the strains of the pressures sometimes even affect our health, while we still attempt to fulfill all our commitments.
One thing that Jesus was so much better at than we are, is He knew when to steal away…from the disciples AND the crowds. He had to refuel, to rest, and to receive a refreshing word from His heavenly Father.
Luke chapter 6 tells of Jesus and the disciples passing through a grain field on the Sabbath. They were very hungry and were picking the heads of grain and crushing them in their hands and eating them. The Pharisees accused Jesus of unlawfully working on the Sabbath. After much back and forth, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” It seemed everywhere He went, He was constantly being accused and harassed by the Pharisees. Talk about STRESS! In verse 12 it says, “It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.” The WHOLE NIGHT…while we have trouble praying 5 minutes. The next morning He was to choose the ones that were to be His disciples. He was so concerned about wanting to pick the ones His Father would have him choose, that He communed with His Father the entire night.
The entire chapter of John 17 gives the prayer that Jesus prayed to His Father on behalf of each of us; asking the Father to keep us from evil while we are in the world, and protect us from the evil one, that we may see His glory, and that Jesus’ joy might be made full in us. He asks His Father to keep us in the Father’s name. An entire chapter devoted to Jesus expressing His love and concern for us to His Father.
Do you think it’s an accident that God provides times of rest and relaxation for His children? I don’t. I think God loves us so much that, in a world such as ours, God gives us time to pull away from the stress and pressures of this world. Just as he set His example, He wants us to refuel, rest, and refresh, not only physically, but spiritually. Whether we stay at home during our time off; travel just a little ways from home; or fly to another state or country, God is the One Who has provided this time for US, to be with HIM. With all the packing and getting ready to go…let’s don’t forget to take the WORD with us.
Sharon Nix – Women’s Ministry Leader