Discipline of Rest 3 – Refreshing the soul

The aim of this devotional study is to consider our Lord’s example of resting when life becomes to demanding.


Mark 6:7-13, 30-32

7  And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8  He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff–no bread, no bag, no money in their belts– 9  but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10  And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11  And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12  So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13  And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them…

30  The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31  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. 32  And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.

Observation and Personal reflection

Context: Jesus sent his disciples on their first missionary journey into Capernaum, and as they returned they told their stories.  But Jesus grew in fame and the crowds were pressing in to see Jesus, so that he invited the disciples to take a break from ministry.

  1. Jesus and the disciples were doing God’s will and meeting real needs in their ministry to people who walked far to hear of God and receive grace from him. In light of this, do you find it strange that Jesus instructed the disciples to “come away for a while?”
    1. What principle do you learn from this?
  2. Consider verses 31-32, and reflect on the meaning and impact of Jesus’ words:
    1. From verse 31, why did Jesus prompt the disciples to “come away”? Say this in your own words. When will you know that the demands of your work and life necessitates you to “come away for a while”?
    2. Jesus did not say “go away” but “come away” – what is the difference? What difference that that make in our times of rest?
    3. Why did Jesus consider it necessary for him and his disciples to draw “away”? Why not rest while staying there?  What principle do you learn from that time of rest?
    4. Jesus invited the disciples to come away “by yourselves”. Why not bring friends and family along? What lesson do you learn from this time of rest “by yourself”?
    5. Jesus did not take the team of disciples to sight-see Jerusalem, but they went “to a desolate place”. Why “to a desolate place”? What principle do you learn in the phrase “[rest in] a deserted place”?
    6. Jesus invited the disciples to break away to “rest for a while”, not just for the evening or a whole day. Why do you suppose did Jesus think the disciples needed a longer break? [consider the context]. What do you learn from this?
    7. The disciples escaped the persistent crowds by going “away in the boat”. What principle do you learn from this?  How can you secure resting time “away from the crowds” in our day and age?


Prayerfully consider your own life and business.  Thank God for the example of Jesus who wisely considered to walk away from good and meaningful work because he knew they needed it for the health of their souls.  Now pray about your hurried life, and ask the Lord for wisdom and courage to respond well.

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