Matthew 8 – Do you need to “Be Right Back”?

Day 8.  Matthew 8.  Stories of healing, faith, amazement, controversy, a nature miracle, and demon possession … wow, what an intense chapter!

But … did you notice that, in the middle of it all, even Jesus needed to “get away”?   Jesus was on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee, in the town of Capernaum.  That area of the shoreline was likely more densely populated than other areas.  And in the midst of Jesus’ dramatic (and successful) ministry, he decided that he need to go to “the other side” of the sea, where there were fewer people.  What?  Why step away now, Jesus, when things are going so well?

Perhaps Jesus knew what we know (but often forget).  Even when things are going incredibly well, we need to take time (make time, actually) to catch our breath.  Jesus “took a break” more than once, as the stories in the Gospels show us.  If you want a spiritual health project, read through the four Gospels this year and notice the rhythm of Jesus’ life and ministry.  Pretty intense, yes, but there are strategic times of rest.  We could, and should, learn from that.

Now of course, if you are reading this and you happen to know me in real life, you have already said to yourself, “Mark, aren’t you being hypocritical when you talk about the importance of systematic rest?”.  Why yes, yes I am being hypocritical.  Sigh.  I know all about the importance of systematic rest, but alas, it is one of my greatest struggles.  For some reason, I think I am indestructible and I can do everything (but there are so many opportunities to explore!).  Sigh.

Which is probably why my word for 2015 is simplify.  Simplify doesn’t necessarily mean less activity, but it means more focus.  Am I involved in the right activities, the right relationships, the right causes?  What am I doing that is unnecessary?  How will I (re)build sustainability into my life?

Hmm … what about you?  What do you need to step away from?


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