(Mark 6:31) "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."
I. Rest is a Biblical Concept.
A. God established the Sabbath.
(Gen 2:2) "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."
(Exo 16:30) "So the people rested on the seventh day."
1. Not because He was tired, but to establish a pattern for us to follow.
2. The Hebrew word translated Sabbath means intermission.
3. At baseball games you have the 'seventh inning stretch'.
4. Seventh is the time for rest, not just for worship.
5. We need to worship God seven days a week, not just on one day.
6. But God gave us the principle of rest.
B. Rest is a discipline of faith.
1. There is no shame in resting; God intends for us to do so.
2. There is also no virtue in refusing to rest…
3. I always heard my dad tell me that no one ever died from hard work…but that isn't altogether correct.
4. Many have worked themselves into an early grave, simply because they refused to take time to rest.
5. Example of two men who had a wood cutting contest.
a. One worked feverishly without stopping once for a break.
b. The other worked a while, and then would take a break, work and then a break.
c. At the close of the specified time, the man who had worked so hard and taken no breaks was amazed that his pile of wood wasn't nearly as large as the other man's.
d. He couldn't believe his eyes and ask him how he did it with all the breaks that he had taken.
e. The man explained that he wasn't just wasting time while he rested himself …he also spent that time sharpening his axe!
C. Rest is necessary for us to prepare ourselves for the tasks we will face in the future.
1. The worst thing that can happen to us is for us to be unprepared for a trial.
2. God knows what is ahead of us…He is the One who established the pattern of rest for us.
3. It is a time to replenish ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
4. It is also a time to strengthen our relationships with our families. (expand)
II. Never Take a Break from Doing the Will of God.
A. Note the following verses. v32-36
1. The people followed them into the wilderness.
2. Jesus had compassion on them and began to teach them.
3. The disciples said, "Send them away".
4. They were on vacation…they were there to have a much-needed break!
5. They tried to instruct Jesus on what to do…let them go on to the villages nearby and buy food.
6. Note: the disciples recognized their need, but didn't want to do anything about it.
B. Jesus always had a plan.
1. This time His plan was to teach His disciples something amazing.
2. He was going to do a miracle here, and He was going to use His disciples to accomplish it.
3. We are familiar with the miracle, but the lesson for us tonight is this.
4. Just because we may be on a break, or on a much-needed vacation…
5. That is no excuse to avoid doing the will of God.
6. Ministry opportunities do not always come from 9-5 on the weekdays.
7. We are to meet peoples' needs when and where they are at.
D. Another biblical example. Cf Neh. 6:1-4
1. Nehemiah was busy doing God's work… doing God's will.
2. His critics (Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem) came to him and tried to convince him to stop building on the wall and come down to them.
3. Nehemiah said they tried four times to get him to stop working, and come meet with them.
4. His answer was always the same, "Why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down unto you?"
5. The work of God continues…there is no break from doing His will.
6. We may grow weary in the work but we must never grow weary of the work.
(Gal 6:9) "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
III. Remember, our Enemy Never Takes a Break.
(1 Pet 5:8) "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
A. Our enemy is constantly looking to destroy us.
B. That is his sole purpose in existence. C. Note: Job 1:7
(Job 1:7) "And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
1. Satan is like a lion that is on the prowl.
2. He is looking for someone that he can attack.
3. He desires to 'sift us like wheat'… literally to tear us apart.
4. We must constantly be on guard, armed and prepared for battle…lest we become a casualty.
Vacations, time away, relaxation, all of this is necessary and right for the child of God. There certainly is no reason for us to feel bad about taking that break. From time to time we need to have our batteries recharged. What that means for some may not be the same for others, but we need to rest! God created us and made allowances for that very need in our lives!
That doesn't mean we should grow lazy and comfortable. We still have an important task at hand. We are given the great responsibility to reach others with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. We still have an active enemy who is working to derail us and destroy us.
As with all things in the Christian life, we need to seek a balance. Are you obedient in the area of rest? Yes there is much to do, but we must be prepared to do it effectively.