“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31b
We live in a busy world. Our schedules become full. Even in retirement there seems to be no “me” time. And, there are those who would make us feel guilty—there is too much to do. We have too many things still to accomplish—there is no time for a quiet place.
The scene around this verse in Mark's Gospel is the feeding of the five thousand. This is a busy time in the life of Jesus and the disciples. The disciples have returned from being sent out, John the Baptist has been beheaded and the news about Jesus is drawing huge crowds. Mark writes, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat...” They needed to get away, to find a quiet place.
Now, they were not quite successful. As the story continues they get into a boat, seeking such a quiet place, but the crowds follow—thus, the feeding of the five thousand. However, at the end Jesus immediately sends the disciples away and he goes to a solitary place to pray. The disciples leave by boat, a solitary place. Here they have a chance to rest, well, except for the storm—but that is for another time. The demands of the crowds are gone. At least for a few moments...they are alone.
We know that we all have need for “quiet times.” There are those days when they never seem to come. We almost feel like we are going from one emergency to another. We long for a “quiet place.” However, when we find it, we feel guilty...there is still so much that needs to be done. How can we take a quiet time with all the needs before us?
Well, first, we need to acknowledge that the world will continue spinning even if we stop! It is not dependent on us. Now that is sometimes hard for us to recognize but it is the truth. Maybe not everything will get done. Or at least not done our way...but that is okay. Life continues.|
Second, we need some “quiet time.” This is not an admission of failure or some flaw in us. Jesus went away to a quiet place to pray. He who started the world spinning in space needed to get away. The pressures were great, the needs beyond comprehension and yet, he needed to just get away. Not for long, just a few hours...some time in a “quiet place.” We too, need to learn to be in a “quiet place.”
Third, each of us will have a different quiet place. Once we start defining what or where quiet spaces are or should be we are in trouble. For some, it could be with their feet up watching their favorite sports team. (Now sports teams do generate a lot of prayer!) For others, it could be gardening or rocking in their favorite chair. For some music might relax and for others silence. It may be time with a good book or with Scripture readings. For others it may be a walk on the beach or time with friends. Alone for some, with people for others.
It is a time away, apart from the normal grind of daily life. A time when we recharge and let go. Jesus asks us to come with him to a “quiet place.” He knows our need for such a place. Thus, don't neglect those quiet times in your life...whatever they might be. And in the midst of them, remember God is there. God has invited us to this place—use it wisely, use it often. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place...”