Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 4, 2018
But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray. Luke 5:15-16 (NRSV)
I’ve noticed a reoccurring theme in my spiritual life this year. In countless ways, the Lord’s message to me has been crystal clear: “slow down.” Yet in this season of life, I find it incredibly difficult to do this seemingly simple thing. I have young children, our home is undergoing a significant renovation, and we’re in the middle of planting a church. In many ways, life is as busy as it has ever been! And yet, in the midst of the chaos, not in spite of it, God invites me, and he invites you, to slow down.
Jesus found himself consistently moving into places of greater leadership, notoriety, and influence. Yet not once does he prioritize his public ministry at the expense of his private time of rest and renewal. In fact, according to Luke 5, when his ministry had reached an all time high and crowds came from all around to be with him, he withdrew to deserted places to pray (Luke 5:16).
Jesus knew that his ability to love, serve, and minister to people in need was directly linked to his own attentiveness to his interior life and relationship with the Father. As is often said, you cannot give what you do not have. Jesus’ ability to withdraw and pray in solitude and silence was what enabled his ministry to flourish and grow. It reminded him that he was known and loved by the Father and that the Father delighted in him.
In his book An Unhurried Life, Alan Fadling asks a profound question: “What would happen if our following Jesus included his habit of withdrawing often to give the Father his full attention?” First, I believe it would remind us of our core identity, that we are known and loved by God. That his love for us is not determined by how busy or productive we are. That he doesn’t ask us to live at a breakneck pace but to learn the unhurried rhythms of life in his Kingdom. Second, I believe this rhythm of withdrawal gives us a boldness to love others just as we have been loved. Love requires the gift of time and attentiveness, and as we retreat and center on the Lord, we are able to love others by being truly present to them in their own places of need and moments of great joy.
Father, help us to serve others from a place of steady rest and renewal that comes from intimate time in your presence. Amen.
Do you have a healthy balance of both the active and contemplative? As life gets busy, are you able to still hold onto quiet, unhurried time with God?
A rhythm of rest gives us a boldness to love others just as we have been loved. #WisdomHunters #learntorest
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