“And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” (Mark 6:31)
From time to time I come across some dear brother or sister who are caught up in a great cause, pre-occupied with the many responsibilities they carry as leaders of this organization, or pastors of that church. Their work is noble, their calling is high, their labors are endless, their passion is infectious – but their lives are fraying at the edges.
They can’t see it so much for themselves. Perhaps the flash of their own achievements are temporary blinding them to their flaws, which are so obvious to others.
Like the hurried Rabbit in Alice’s Wonderland, these busy souls rush about doing many good and wonderful things. But too often, in the final analysis, they pay dearly for it through the failure of their marriages, the loss of great friendships, or the failing of their own sense of health and well-being.
“Come ye apart and rest for awhile,” the Lord says. It is not a suggestion; it is His expressed will for each one of us. One preacher summed it up this way: “Come ye apart, before ye come apart!”
The Lord knows what extended stretches in ministry without any rest and relaxation will do to us. Therefore, he has ordained these seasons of repose to provide us with the opportunity of reflecting upon what all has been accomplished by the grace of God, and to be replenished for upcoming seasons of even more victories and advances in faith.
Not only does the Lord know our limits, He also knows the vanity of our selfish thoughts. He knows how prone we are to serve so as to make a good showing of our spirituality; to impress others with our devotion and faithfulness — as well as to show them up for their lack of the same.
Busy-ness is our way of appearing important and significant. Maybe the dry spell is God’s way of toning us down; of bringing us back into focus, by showing us that we are not so indispensable as we may suppose.
A few years ago I can across this quaint poem about the Indispensable Man:
Sometime when you’re feeling important.
Sometime when your ego’s in bloom.
Sometime when you take it for granted
you’re the best qualified in the room.
Sometime when you feel your departure
would leave an unfillable hole.
Just follow these simple instructions
and see how it humbles your soul.
Take a bucket and fill it with water.
Put you hand in it up to the wrist.
Pull it out, and the hole that’s remaining
is the measure of how you’ll be missed.
You may splash all you please when you enter.
You may stir up the water galore.
But stop, and you’ll find in a minute
that it looks quite the same as before.
The moral of this quaint example
is to do the best that you can.
Be proud of yourself, but remember —
there is no indispensable man!
When an individual begins to think they are indispensable, there sets in upon them a compulsive and controlling temperament that becomes rather insufferable for others. Hillary of Tours wrote of Christians who suffer from Irreligiosa sollicitudo pro Deo – which translated means, “a blasphemous anxiety to do God’s work for Him!”
Hey, chill out and take a break…….even it means spenind some time in a deserted place. The Lord will not forsake you!