A Summer of Restoration Lies Ahead
by Impact Church
“Come aside into a desert place, and rest a while…” Mark 6:31
Memorial Day and the first week of June are in the rear-view mirror,… Father’s Day is less than two weeks away,…and some folks have already lit a long mental fuse on Fourth of July fireworks. Whether the Gregorian calendar agrees or not, summertime has arrived!
We at Impact Church have promoted a “summer of service” theme in the past, and we will certainly continue to serve God’s people and our community during the hot days ahead. But, perhaps more than ever before, we are feeling the need to refresh our spirits and recharge our batteries for the Kingdom work to which our great King has called us.
Summer slump? No way! Summer of restoration? Sign us up!
The theme of resting and replenishing ourselves for the journey that awaits us is deeply rooted in Scripture. The Creator God modeled it when He observed a day of rest after six days of work. Ever thought about the fact that the limitless Lord God – infinite in power and glory – does not get tired? The day of rest was definitely more for our benefit than His.
In His earthly ministry, the Son of God often called the Twelve off the weary path of their village-to-village ministry circuits to restore them physically and refill them spiritually. The words printed above from Mark 6:31 are written in red in most Bibles, meaning they were spoken by Jesus, the God-Man Himself. The disciples had just returned to the Master after finishing their first preaching tour. In other words, they had been constantly giving themselves to the ministry, pouring out their gifts in spreading the Gospel.
Anyone who hasn’t experienced the weight of ministry will not understand. Kingdom work is often tiring, thankless and taxing to the mind, body and soul. Jesus knew that the unrivaled privilege and joy of bringing folks to Him and discipling them in the Christian walk also carries the burden of caring for the souls of men, women and children.
When the Savior calls His followers aside to rest, isn’t it interesting that He leads them to “a desert place”? Now some of you might think of a sandy beach (the Grand Strand or White Lake, anyone?),… and Scripture tells us that the apostles’ getaway was along the shore of the Sea of Galilee near the town of Bethsaida. (The name literally means “the house of fishing or hunting.”) Some of us might prefer the rejuvenation of an active sporting life – fishing, hunting, softball, cycling, volleyball, golf, etc. – to the lolling and floating life of a beach or lazy river.
By the end of Mark 6, Jesus even took leave of His followers — yes, our pastors and leaders need vacations, too! – and got away by Himself to a nearby mountain to pray. So if your favorite place to unwind and commune with your Heavenly Father is Grandfather Mountain or The Smokies, you’re in good company.
Wherever your summer travels take you, let’s claim the word of God to Moses in Exodus 33: “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” Then let us reply with the worshiping heart of Moses: “If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up from here.”
Translation: Just because you leave town for a season of restoration, take God’s presence with you! We all need to do get away from time to time, and we understand that the only time many families get to travel is when the children (and the teachers!) are out of school. You’ll find no judgment here,…Enjoy yourself and the splendor of the Lord’s creation! A little ocean breeze or mountain mist refreshes in ways that no doctor can!
But also remember that in the same desert place to which the disciples were summoned to rest, more than 5,000 hungry souls were fed. When we carry the Holy Spirit with us on vacation, even earthen vessels that are in dire need of restoration carry more hope than natural men and women have on their best days. Keep your minds open and your hearts sensitive to opportunities to pour life into your restaurant server, your housekeeper or a fellow weary traveler. Dry, thirsty souls are everywhere.
We at Impact Church want to see you in our services every time we turn on the lights, but we know that won’t always happen, especially during the summertime. You can still be faithful carriers of the presence of God, and you can still pray for and support financially the work that continues in Greensboro and Reidsville while you’re gone.
And when you return to town, you’ll be welcomed back home with open arms and a loving smile. We’ll even leave the light on for you!