Lesson 183-April 28, 2019

Lesson 183-April 28, 2019
Lesson: “A Rest Period”
Scripture: Mark 6:30-33
Lesson Goal: To understand that even God’s servants need “A Rest Period”.

Introduction: Mark had paused in his writing of the initial mission of the twelve to give us many details of John the Baptist death (vv14-29). Now in verse 30 he picks up the story of the twelve upon their return to Je- sus. Jesus had taught them and instructed them before sending them out on their first ministry and mission trip. Now the mission is concluded and the twelve return back to Jesus to offer their report to what had taken place. We learn that the disciples have experienced great blessings and successes. It has been a wonderful time of ministry, as well as, growth in a personal way for the disciples.

(v30) Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.

The disciples return giving their report to Jesus. During this ministry time they had preached and healed many who were sick (vv12-13). No doubt there had to have been a spirit of excitement and joy as they shared what had happened as they minister in Jesus’ name and with His authority (v7). They had worked extremely hard; although the ministry had exhausted all of them.

It is at this time “the popular enthusiasm for the Lord now reached its peak.”

Question: Can you imagine what it must have been like when the disciples return to Jesus (probably at a pre- determined arranged time) and they sat around the campfire telling their stories? Remember this was the first time the disciples had gone out on their own. How do you think the stories were told? Jesus probably listened, observed, and answered any of their questions.

Question: How would it effect our lives, actions, attitudes, and ministry if we consciously reported back to Jesus?

Question: As we reported back to Him would it not be a great time to also pray and ask for His continued guidance for the future? Why is this important?

(v31) And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going and they did not even have time to eat.

The disciples being weary and exhausted from their ministry needed a rest. For a time they needed to be away from the crowds so they might be able to renew their strength. For them to do this they would have to with- draw to an isolated (deserted place).

“Doing God’s work is very important, but Jesus recognized that to do it effectively we need periodic rest and renewal. Jesus and His disciples, however, did not always find it easy to get the rest they needed. But they certainly wouldn’t find it in Capernaum.” Life Application Bible

Daniel Akin writes some people “rust out in ministry because they are lazy. Others burnout because they nev- er take a break.”

Vance Havner, “If we don’t come apart to rest, we will come apart.”

Again Daniel Akin offers some insights that are helpful in our understanding:

  1. There is a time to work. Laziness has no place in the Christian life.
  2. We should have periods of rest because Jesus tells us to. Being a workaholic is not spiritual and actually can be sinful,
  3. Rest is best when accompanied both by solitude and companionship.
  4. Rest is for a specific period of time. It is not permanent.
  5. Even while resting, be prepared for ministry if necessary. A devoted follower of Jesus is never off duty.

Please take a few moments to think about and discuss Akins’ five insights.
Please read 1 Kings 19:4-8. Please offer your thoughts of this passage in the context of Mark 6:31.

Ministry can be very demanding. Please explain.

(v32) So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.

H. A. Ironside states, “How much His servants need such seasons of quiet in company with Him! So they de- parted for a deserted place-a place away from city or town where they might obtain that physical recuperation and mental quiet which they needed so much. If we all took time for more such occasions, nervous break- downs and heart attacks would not be so common among the servants of Christ.”

Personal Testimony: As I share the following testimony of my own life’s journey in ministry I do so with some reluctance and much apprehension. This reluctance and apprehension is not caused by any fear of what must be written but rather a caution in how it will be understood and received. I do not share these words from the mindset of a young pastor nor with the mindset of a expert pastor but just as a man that is walking his jour- ney still.

When I take to heart the words of today’s lesson I am both convicted and remined that I so wish I had taken them more seriously in my own life’s journey. For the greater part of my years in ministry I have taken to heart a work ethic that said even in ministry “No one would out work me!” I have tried to honor that self im-

posed ethic through the years. Often working longer hours and sacrificing the rest periods and solitude and

isolated periods. Looking in hindsight my reasons were not always godly reasons. For years I have taken seri- ously the “fear of failure in ministry.” When I heard a very popular senior pastor at the time, in 1985 during a seminary chapel sermon state, “that at the end of twenty years only 3 out of 20 of you that listen to me today going into the pastorate will still be in the pastorate after 20 years” I concluded that day I would not become a Baptist statistic for his verification of truth. For that which God called me I would not become a spiritual casu- alty in my serving Jesus. Using this as a motivation I set my sights on twenty years of ministry as a goal. Twenty years from the day I graduated I called my best friend in the ministry and told him “we made it!” That same mind set has taken me another seventeen as well. But during the past 37 years of the journey I have not always been wise in those needed rest periods of life. If I could counsel young ministers today, it would be work hard, never let anyone be able to accurately and truthfully state that “you are lazy.” Never give the ap- pearance of laziness! But do not put self imposed, unreal expectations upon yourself and more importantly do not allow other people to place unreal expectations upon you. No matter how hard one works or how long one works it is impossible to meet the expectations of all the people. Any attempt to do this will wear a minister out physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. In fact in my simple terms it probably will bring you to the end of your row a little sooner than had you been wise in the rest periods of life.

Many times during the course of our journey my sweet Cindy has said, “remember God knows when nobody else sees and understands He does.”

Servant of Jesus don’t be afraid to take a little rest from time to time. Jesus and the disciples did or at least at- tempted to!

(v33) But the multitudes saw them departing and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him.

Don’t freak out when your vacation or rest period gets interrupted. Has that ever happened to you?