Vol. 2, No. 35 – 8-27-2017
He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.” [For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.]. Mark 6:31
Many times we just fill our days with busyness. We think that we are productive in doing so; however, being effective is really hard work!
When a [person] does not know what harbor [they are] heading for, no wind is the right wind. — Seneca, Roman philosopher
If you cannot come apart from your work at the time of need, a time of contemplation, you will actually just come apart. Maturity and efficiency do not become best “buds” without coming apart so that one can grow. We can call this “quality time” or we can term this time as an investment and reflection for our future days. What do you prefer to do with your time; it has an outcome!
It has always tickled me when I hear believers utter that they need to go on a retreat. Christians do not retreat, they advance. Coming apart without seeking to advance is not heading with the right wind at your back!
Have you contemplated the purpose of Jesus in calling His own disciples aside?
- A hard tour of ministry had just concluded. Perhaps some set-aside time would refresh His followers for advancement; after all, the tour had been stressful.
- John the Baptist was just martyred. Perhaps some set-aside time would be important for these disciples.
- Maybe it was time for some vacation; after all, do we all not deserve some R&R? Scripture is full of vacations—is it not?
- Maybe it was time to just get away from people; the crowd, the relatives, the neighbors, or even the bosses—they are a bother—are they not?
- Maybe retirement would be good; after all the Bible speaks often about our personal retirement benefits–does it not? Who is retirement for, if it is not for our own personal wants?
If we are going to seek after the “quality” life, the “good life,” we need to pay for a seminar for preparation—do we not? Or, should that be our purpose in setting ourselves aside for a time? How many of us look forward to going to a seminar or speaking series, only to find that suddenly there are demands on our time just as we are getting ready for our “get-away”?
Slow yourself for a moment. Take your foot off of your accelerator. Perhaps what you really need is just a quiet place to quiet your heart. It does not take a trip or a seminar, or a “retreat” to accomplish this need. It is true that we live in a chaotic time, a frenzied world at best. It seems that there is much to do, and so little time to accomplish what we place before ourselves as “necessary.” We need to SLOW for a moment, park under a broom tree and contemplate. Who are we depending on, and is the One we depend on dependable?
Do you ever “have to” listen to someone talk about how hard they work? How they have not even taken a vacation (in over 30 years and they are only 29)! That they have not stopped since they left for elementary school, walking through knee-high snow uphill to school and uphill in knee-high snow to return downhill home. They do not even get to see their family because it is dark when they leave for work, and dark when they return home from work. Nothing, they say, can happen without their presence or input—only they know “how to do what needs to be done.”
This kind of person seldom succeeds and the most important things of life get set aside. This person is to be pitied. Life is at risk. Danger lurks. Not that they retire, they just die early, in their self-centeredness.
I wonder if Jesus had in mind the long-term effects of just working all the time. These followers were seemingly successful; however, they could easily become workaholics. Our work generally expands to fill all of our time. Work becomes the drone of life and a liability. When the body cries out for relief, and the spirit desires quiet, and the mind wants some alone time, work takes priority and life ebbs away.
Only the physically fit, the mentally alert, the spiritually attuned, and the one whose relationship is constant with the Lord will truly succeed with the demands that life brings.
In reality, our lives on the earth are only for a short time; we do need a place of contemplation; a place to come apart so that we can advance the kingdom. Not long ago I wrote my second book (the first was actually a doctorial project). The title of the book: Under the Broom Tree: Contemplations of Life and Service, is germane to the theme of this particular blog.
When we feel trodden down, bruised, needing repair, and in despair, where is our Broom Tree that we might set ourselves aside for rest and contemplation. We, every one of us, need to have a Broom Tree. Otherwise, we will eventually fail in our efforts to succeed. It is under the Broom Tree that we can contemplate our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Without that relationship we will never have anything more than a drive to be successful or being busy in life—and we will spin our proverbial wheels.
Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31