This is the audio from the January 2, 2022 sermon, “A Time To REST?”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.
Text: Mark 6:30-44
God created us with a need to rest. He even set the example for us as we see in scripture following the creation of all things that on the seventh day God rested from all His work. But rest done God’s way isn’t strictly about us and often helps us to see how God would have us to be involved in the lives of others. So when our idea of rest seems to be interrupted, perhaps it would be good to consider a time to . . .
- Retreat. Mark 6:30-32
- Finding a place of quiet solitude can be a good thing from time to time. Making the time to be alone with His Father appears to be a priority of Jesus not only in His actions, but also in the teaching of His disciples. Even in the midst of good work and productive ministry, briefly stepping back from the needs of people can help us have a better view of things from God’s perspective. While a time to retreat is good, and even necessary at times, it alone will not assure true rest.
- Encourage. Mark 6:33-34
- Even as Jesus made plans to withdraw to a quiet place with His disciples, a crowd of people ended up arriving at the intended destination even before He did. Rather than turn around and go back to where they had come from, or even seek out a more secluded place, Jesus took notice of the crowd and had compassion on them. At their intended place of retreat, Jesus took the opportunity to encourage the people as He began to teach. When we recognize that our desire for rest isn’t all about us, we are more likely to use our times of stepping away from routine to encourage those we encounter in our quiet places.
- Serve. Mark 6:35-40
- Just as our desire for a time to rest may involve retreat and encouraging others, we may discover it is also a time to serve. I know it probably sounds strange to think of a time to rest as being a time to serve, yet there is something uniquely refreshing about serving when you know without a doubt that it is God serving others through you. As Jesus called the disciples to serve the crowd, they did a quick tally and concluded that the task was too big. When Jesus tells them to see what they can find, I believe He does so to emphasize the impossibility of the task by human standards. When we serve outside of our comfort zone in ways that require God to work through us, I believe we not only find a time to rest, but also a time of rest.
- Thank. Mark 6:41-44
- Even before the crowd was fed and the leftovers collected, Jesus paused and recognized a time to thank. Someone has once said (and interestingly the source is greatly debated) that it is amazing what can be accomplished if you don’t care who gets the credit. I believe that even greater is what can be accomplished if you set out to deliberately give God the credit. Perhaps one of the reasons we become so weary at times is because we’ve convinced ourselves that everything in front of us has been accomplished by us. We wear ourselves out just thinking of all we have done. We are most prepared to find a time to rest when we make it a priority to have a time to thank God. It is in offering thanks to God that we acknowledge His hand in our life and we are able to lift Jesus up so that many would be drawn to Him.
Do you need a time to REST?
How will a deliberate life of Retreat, Encouragement, Service, and Thanks help you experience a greater rest?