Sports teams take them in the middle of big games, and they may play a major role in a team’s game-winning strategy, but when was the last time you took a “time-out“? We live in a fast-paced society where we are expected to give it all we have, and then some, but as the old saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy“. We are dulled by our constant activity such that we are never really at our best. This is called “burn-out“…

In Mark 6, after two very stressful events, Jesus recognized that His disciples needed a “time-out“. His disciples had just returned from their first short-term missions trip, and they had just learned of the death of John the Baptist. They were physically-exhausted and emotionally and spiritually spent. They had been subsisting on “fast-food” and hadn’t even had time for a family-meal. They needed more than just a huddle with the Coach and a couple of sips of Gatorade. They needed a break…

30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. (Mark 6:30-32)

As usual, their “time-out” was short-lived, because as soon as the crowds figured out where they were, they were mobbed again.

33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. (Mark 6:33-42)

After they fed the five-thousand, Jesus called another “time-out“…

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. (Mark 6:45-47)

Jesus took His own “time-out” to commune with His Father, because He too grew tired and needed a time of refreshing.

Our “time-outs”…
We need “time-outs” also, because we can’t be at our best or give our best when we are worn-out. Vacations are wonderful, but how often do you take one? For some people, even taking a long weekend is hard to do. That is one of the reasons why I like, no…LOVE to be in church every Sunday morning. I need that untouchable “timeout“.

The pastor of my church is preaching a series of sermons on “Worship“, and this past Sunday, he invited one of the men to give his testimony about what “Worship” means to him. Dave was in the US Navy for several years, and he served aboard a nuclear submarine. The submarine’s primary power-source was a small nuclear reactor, but if they had to shut down the reactor for some reason, they could run on battery-power…for a while. If they ran the batteries down too far, they couldn’t restart the reactor, leaving them dead in the water. Dave likened “Worship” to being our primary-power-source. We can only run on our spiritual-batteries for just so long before we need to reconnect in a meaningful way to God, our spiritual power-source. Dave’s testimony is mine also, because I REALLY miss going to church when I can’t go for whatever reason.

Another of my “time-outs” is my devotional time every night before I go to bed. When I miss this time because I am too tired, I really do miss it. My devotional-time is when God and His word get my undivided-attention, because even when I am working on an article, it doesn’t even get my undivided-attention.

Why does the church think that retreats are only for young-people? Christian retreats are a wonderful way to recharge our “spiritual-batteries“. When I went to the Christian Naturist Festival a few weeks ago, it felt like a Retreat and an extended “time-out“. Even though it went almost non-stop, it wasn’t tiring, because we were studying God’s word and the Holy Spirit was working in our midst. There is also no substitute for Christian fellowship. Even though I missed being in my home church, it wasn’t the same as missing church entirely.

Your “time-outs”…
When was the last time you had a meaningful “time-out“? Jesus wasn’t just speaking to His disciples when He said, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”, that message is for us also.

Come away and rest. Take a “time-out”.


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