Monday, December 19, 2011

Spiritual Rejuvenation

And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.
(Mark 6:31-32 ESV)

Taking a sabbath day is probably one of the most broken commands in the Bible by Christians, including myself. We are commanded to take one (Deut. 5:12-13), but we often find ourselves "busy" with ministry as were the apostles in Mark 6, which results in continuing on with ministry.

Most of us, myself included, find this command difficult enough to keep in our culture, so the thought of spiritual retreat never even crosses our mind. What we are really communicating in this neglect of a sabbath is that we think we know better than God and we show our lack of dependence on him. 

Thankfully I have been encouraged and had the opportunity in the last two months to take two separate spiritual retreats that were above and beyond a normal sabbath. The first of these came at a much needed time of exhaustion and frustration. Taking a spiritual retreat with nothing but a Bible, notebook, and pen allowed me to commune with God in a way that I normally do not, express my dependence on him, and allow him to give me the restoration that I needed.

Sometimes it can be easy to overlook the command to take a sabbath, but Jesus himself took a day of rest and told the apostles to Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while. In our rest we are offering ourselves up to God and allowing him to do the rest by communicating to him that there is nothing more important in life to us than him.

Now one of my goals for 2012 will be to take an extended spiritual retreat once a month for a time of rejuvenation and communion with God. Ministry and being on mission is important, but obeying God's command and taking a sabbath is also important. So what do you say? How about joining me in this goal and see how it impacts your spiritual life in the new year!

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