Come Away with Me
As one of the members of our church heads off to a Come Away With Me Retreat, I find myself a little envious and reminiscent of my own retreat where the Lord met me with healing. Reflecting on the invitation to come away, I can’t think of a more tempting one than to have someone who loves you invite you to take some time to go with them, to a time and place where you can be alone to just chill, spend time reconnecting and simply enjoy each other’s company. As amazing as that invitation is, consider that Jesus invites us to do just that.
Mark 6:30-32 says: “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.”
The Christian life can be likened to a journey in which we progress like Bunyan’s Pilgrim from one place of growth to another. Within a life of journeying are some different topographies, we are called to traverse. One of those topographies involves the Journey Upward. In the Christian life, it is about positioning ourselves before the Lord in such a way as to foster growth in our own relationship with Christ, growth in intimacy with Him, the deepening of our relationship, our communion, our walk with Him.
Peter put it this way: “Like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation now that you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2-3). Paul put it this way: “So then just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-8).
After the disciples returned from their mission trip of preaching the Kingdom of God (Mark 6:8-11), Jesus calls them together and issues the invitation…“Come away with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). What an invitation!
Why would He offer it? For one, maybe because He knew personally how a vital connection was needed to maintain both a life and a ministry. We know His practice was to go away by Himself regularly to be with the Father and we know He was the most balanced person ever. We also know how at times, life gets taken out of us rather than put into us. So He invites the disciples and us to pay attention to the rhythm of rest and prayer, and to grow into it. In a recent counseling session with a couple, one spouse commented to the other on why they were willing to do the work in the relationship saying, “I’m willing to do it because you’re worth it!” Unquestionably, Jesus thinks we’re worth His time and effort and calls us to spend time with Him, during which life gets poured back into us.
Another reason might be because He knew ministry can be a strange combination of exhilaration at seeing people come to faith, freedom, and fullness and (on the other hand) an absolute assault on your own soul. So, He invited them to debrief on what had happened on their journey and learn from what they had seen. Spending time with the Lord has a wonderful way of reminding us what is most important, and what is important is not that demons submit to us in Jesus’ name (i.e. not what our accomplishments in ministry are), but that our names are written in the Book of Life.
Out of these times in which we discipline ourselves to spend time with the Saviour comes greater clarity about ourselves and our ministries, deeper communion with Him, greater awareness of His presence, deeper love for Him and a sharpening of the focus of our lives so we become more conformed to His image (Romans 8:28). When we refer to the Journey Upward, this is what we are talking about – the movement of our lives in an upward spiral of growth. Every Christian is supposed to be growing in their personal relationship with Christ, for Paul writes: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Jesus invites each one of us to “Come away with Him.” The interesting thing for me is that people can tell who has been with Jesus and who has spent too much time alone.
O Lord, may what was said of your disciples be said of us – clearly these people have been with Jesus!” (Acts 4:13)
About the Author
Dan is a Board member of HCM International and serves as Lead Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Orleans, Ontario, Canada. He has been a conference speaker and worship leader for various Presbyterian Renewal Ministry International events. He has been married to Dawn for more than 26 years, and they are the proud parents of three children who are their joy and delight. He lives with a deep sense of gratitude to God for the saving grace extended to him by our Great Savior.