Gospel of Mark | Solitude | Mark 6.30-32 | movementministriesblog.com

by | Jan 11, 2024

“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 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.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” Mark 6.30-32

When I was in seminary, I took an independent study on the spiritual practice of solitude. My professor Dr. Reg Johnson was my supervisor and he allowed me the freedom to create the syllabus and select the books. Within that class included a weekend trip to the Gethsemane Monastery in Kentucky. I spent a weekend in silence, praying and reading, and reflecting upon this ancient spiritual practice.

As I read this passage, I am realize the busyness of Jesus and his disciples. V. 31 says, “then because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat…” It reminds me of my friends at the Asbury Outpouring which lasted for two weeks and really took its toll on those who were leading. The little town of Wilmore was so packed that those who lived there had a hard time getting to their homes or to the store for food and groceries. The work of God, in both this passage and in Wilmore was disruptive even as it was a blessing.

So Jesus’ disciples could not find time to eat (like me at youth camp!) and so he took them to a quiet place to get some rest. The only option was to get on a boat to get away from the people. Even Jesus and his disciples were human – they needed a nap.

In the midst of God’s amazing miracles, people turning from sin, being healed of diseases and released from demon possession are the workers of Christ and his followers doing God’s work. And they needed a break! So they sought solitude, seclusion from the demanding crowds to replenish, refresh and be refueled for the journey. They did this by physically removing themselves from the situation as they sought a place of solitude.

Being an introvert and in ministry, I can relate. Every chance I get I retreat. But likewise, every chance I get I reenter the battle. It’s a constant ebb and flow of retreating and reengaging. Moving out and coming back in. Finding the waves of the ocean, constantly in motion.

The discipline of solitude is necessary for all of God’s children. We all need it. Just as Jesus, God in the flesh, had to find rest — so shall we. It’s a practice that renews our senses and revives our souls.

“O Lord God, today is a day of solitude — I’m practicing this as I write, along on a porch at my home. Surrounded by some furry friends! With a swirling wind around me, I find stillness in your Spirit. With dozens of ministry projects, I find you to be the Master of my ship. Come now, Holy Spirit, bring your quiet and gentle love to your people. Help us know the importance of solitude and the benefits of your presence. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen