And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he (Jesus) departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” – Mark 1:35-38 ESV
Have you ever experienced such a scenario? It’s no secret that for Jesus life was a very busy experience. He was in high demand. Everyone needed something from Him. So much so that He had to rise very early and go to a desolate place just to experience enough silence to pray and recharge. Furthermore, it would seem that even as He took the time to get away His disciples thought nothing of interrupting this time He took to recharge. They even seem to have been attempting to set the day’s agenda for Him. Yet, He seemed to handle this struggle for time with great grace and ease.
I have come back to this passage many many a time throughout my life. I have come back to it so often for it illustrates a dichotomy that has continually proven to be a challenge in my own life. I am referring to the struggle between serving and recharging. You see, while we are called to a life of service we must remember that we can only serve at our full potential through the aid and power of the Holy Spirit. There is a limit to what we can do and I have been guilty on many occasions of running till I was operating on fumes. On the other hand there can also be a temptation to retreat too much. So how do you find the balance?
Gordon McDonald once wrote that Jesus was able to handle the struggle for time effectively because He fully understood His mission (I have paraphrased his statements). John Piper also points out that “Edwards (Jonathan Edwards) was always asking about the ultimate end of things, because once we know and embrace the final and highest reason that we and the church and the nations exist, then all our thinking and all our feeling, and all our acting will be governed by that aim.” Piper, Edwards, and even the Westminster Catechism all agree that our chief aim is to glorify God. But what about when we are faced with lot’s of good options in life? Options that all seem to glorify God in one way or another.
What did Jesus do? He prayed! Yes, that’s when it is time to stop and seek direction. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 But prayer offers more than just direction. It offers rejuvenation as well. You see every person no matter how strong mentally or physically needs to recharge. We simply can’t go long without spending time with God. In fact that’s where it all starts, spending time with God. It all starts with a relationship with Him.
- Communication in a Time of War (matthewwynne.wordpress.com)