Come Away, Eat and Rest
by Patty of Hearts Homeward
Life has its rhythms and growth has its seasons.
Jesus knows our needs and He knows when to send us out, when to call us back and when to give us rest. I have been going through a study with a friend of mine called, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.” The study came to us in such a serendipitous way that we just knew it was from the Lord. We found an unrelated, but great companion study called, “The 23rd Psalm, the Lord Our Shepherd.” These two studies have been leading me to look with new eyes at a very familiar section of Scripture. As Christians, we can get so inoculated and familiar with a passage that we sometimes miss what God has for us in His Word. I can recite the 23rd Psalm, but I am not sure I ever let it have its way with me as I am doing now.
One thing that struck me as we read through the first few verses was this:
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He makes me lie down. He makes me. He has to make me because on my own, I am like a sheep: restless, nibbling away from my Shepherd, unable to settle. But, He is a Good Shepherd and He knows that He will have to make me lie down in green pastures. He knows all of our needs and He will give us what we need despite ourselves. Sometimes, from this sheep’s perspective, that provision is uncomfortable or even feels as though My Shepherd is being distant or detached at times. In retrospect, I always see that His hand was caring and His heart full of concern for my highest well-being.
In the book of Mark, chapter 6 (6-13, 30-31) we get a glimpse of a vivid example wherein Jesus sends his disciples out and then calls them to rest.
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
…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.”
Jesus first sends his friends out to serve. He sends them out and admonishes them not to rely on their own provision or strength as they minister. How often do we enter ministry carrying “our own provision” with us? God asks us to rely on Him alone when He sends us out into ministry. They return, probably excited and euphoric from all they have seen and all that has been done through them. Instead of riding this wave of power and effectiveness, Jesus does the unexpected. He calls them away. He says to them that they need to come with Him to a quiet place and rest.
Jesus knows when we should go out and when we should come away, by ourselves, with Him, to a quiet place and rest. Both of these aspects of living are healthy parts of our walk with Him. We must go out into ministry in the right time, when He sends us, and we do that in dependence upon Him. But, in this culture of doing, filling our calendars to the brim and going full speed, we also need to heed the equally spiritual call from Jesus: “come away with Me and rest.”