Read Mark 6:30-46
I am writing these meditations during a short sabbatical. The demands and stresses of ministry had become very heavy for me and I needed some intense quality time with the Lord. Immersing myself in His Word, taking time to reflect on the Good News, and “wasting time” in prayer was essential to my wellbeing and spiritual health. That is where Jesus and His disciples found themselves at this point in their ministry. In today’s reading, Mark says “because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’”
But as so often happens, our times of rest and refreshment can be interrupted, and new demands can shatter the quiet we are pursuing. Jesus and His disciples “went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.” It is important for us to recognize that the Lord has the big picture, and that though we may have designs on our time, He may have other plans for us. For Jesus and His disciples, interruptions were ministry callings. It is another example of walking in the Grace of God—being willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, and living in the moment.
Living in the Spirit is a moment by moment adventure. On this, and other sabbaticals I have taken, there have been interruptions, people making demands on my time. It would be easy for me to get angry, to resent those who, like the crowd in the story, selfishly pursue their own agenda. But “when Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them…” Interruptions are ministry opportunities, moments for grace in the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught and fed the crowd, and then, “After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.” It is best to leave our time in His hands.