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 6:31)."Get away and get some rest!"
You've heard people tell you that. I've heard people tell me that. But, I'm not a good "rester" or a good "get away" kind of person but I am getting better at it. How about you? We are part of a culture that is obsessed with appearing busy, even though much of our busyness is our own doing. So when real pressure, hardship, work demands, family concerns, or ministry stress comes along, we are depleted and not our best. This leaves us vulnerable to temptation, discouragement, and feelings of being overwhelmed.
When Jesus said to his closest friends and disciples, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest," he was in the middle of a time of great busyness and stress that is hard to overemphasize (Mark 6:1-56 — you are encouraged to read the whole chapter and the reflections that follow come from this chapter!). He had been rejected by his own family and friends in his hometown. He had just sent out his disciples to do ministry on their own under his supervision. He was dealing with the grief of John the Baptizer's his cousin and spiritual forerunner murder by Herod. He was swamped with people everywhere he turned.
Even in their attempt to get away to rest, people recognized them and rushed to meet them and so Jesus and his band of brothers didn't get to rest until Jesus had served and taught a huge mob of folks who were hungry for both God and food. In their exhaustion and facing the seemingly impossible task of caring for this crowd of over five thousand, Jesus' disciples said, "Send them away ..." (Mark 6:36).
These followers of Jesus were not being rude or selfish; they had just reached the end of their sufficiency, energy, and ability. They were overextended, exhausted, and without margin. They needed to be just with Jesus and they needed rest.
Maybe you are there. Most likely you have been there. It may not be the end of the rope, but it feels like you are hanging on to the knot in the rope not too far from the end and your fingers are slipping. And Jesus says to you, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest"!
You look at your schedule and there is no time to get away. You are not sure you can trust him with your storm of problems and so you won't let go even for a day to replenish your energy by spending time away, alone, with him. You look at the task in front of you and it is so overwhelming and daunting that you don't know what to do; but you know you can't handle it, so you pray and beg, "Send them (or it) away!" Your resources are too few and your abilities too feeble and your hope of addressing the problem too dim; so rather than taking a day of rest with the Savior, you churn on or escape to some bad habit rather than turning to him.
But the Lord calls to you, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest" and promises that if you do, he will make your five loaves and two fish enough to feed the crowd, he will still your storm and come to you if you will ask him, and he will pray over you to strengthen you even when you are not aware of his gracious attention.
But the key to it all is trust that when he calls to you, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest," he also walks beside you to help you through.
So hear his voice and follow: "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."