Mark 6:31 – And there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His disciples didn't even have time to eat. So He said to them, "Let's go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest awhile" (TEV).
Consider that passage from Mark's Gospel. They had busy days, even twenty centuries ago! Put that verse in a modern setting, and you get: "Jesus and His group was so busy they didn't even have time to grab a sandwich at their desks." Who says the Bible is not relevant to modern life? Not I! Does that sound like people you know? Like you? Put the brakes on! This is no way to live.
God has dominion over all our lives. God knows the value of work and rest, for at the end of the Creation story, God rested on the seventh day. (Genesis 2:2) For us, that's not easy, not even resting one day a week. You may go to worship each week, but if you are a committed church-goer, you will often find yourself involved in doing things, to the point you're almost in over your head. Instead of a Sabbath day of rest, Sunday is just one more day full of obligations you have to meet.
Yet, for many people, the most important part of themselves gets neglected, year after year. I'm talking about their soul. We may see our doctor at least once a year for a check-up. Many people make sure their wills and insurance are up to date every year. But when was the last time you asked yourself, "How is my soul doing?"
Many of my Roman Catholic friends take an annual retreat. It's a chance for them to get away from the mad rush of daily life, and consider how their soul is doing. Time away for your soul is something that can benefit anyone. Ten years ago, I had to make some important life decisions. I couldn't make them in midst of the Bay Street pressure cooker, at the heart of Canada's financial district in Toronto, Ontario. So I spent a week away at the Presbyterian Retreat and Conference Centre at Crieff Hills, Ontario. A minister friend recommended some books for me, because he knew where I was on my spiritual journey. Out of that week came a firm decision to follow Christ, whatever the cost, even in the midst of the Bay Street jungle.
I'm in a high pressure job. I find I need a week of quiet, every year. A week away from everything. A chance to ask, "How is my soul doing, this year?"
A month ago today, the Lord gave us all a brand new year. You might even have some New Year's resolutions still intact! In all the things you want to do, be good to yourself, be good to your soul. Take some time, make some time for a soul check-up. The busier you are, the more you need it.
Prayer: Lord, help us remember that we are first and foremost souls in human bodies. We would not hesitate to restore healing to a sick body; help us be equally mindful of the state of our souls. We are well on our way through another year. As we see to our earthly affairs, may our souls prosper as well. In Jesus' name. Amen.