Boat Ride

One of the practices I have sought to instill with the staff of the church community I serve is to have semi-regular, all-staff days of solitude.  The typical protocol is to meet as a staff in the beginning of the day for a time or worship and scriptural focus, but to then commission them off on their own for the rest of the day in silent prayer, biblical reflection, etc.

As we do these “events” 2-3 times a year, we also encourage each staff member to make this holy habit a normal part of their yearly rhythm, adding another 2-4 on their calendar.

One of the things I noticed heading into our last solitude day a few weeks ago, was how hard these days are for me. That though I am the catalyst of “enforcing” them on the team, I have a very hard time sitting in silence, praying, and reading scripture, while not thinking I am wasting my time from accomplishing “more productive work.”

Something that helped me was reading through Mark 6, and coming up with a word picture from scripture.

In Mark 6 we find that Jesus commissions his disciples off on their own to conduct a ministry of miraculous signs and wonders.

When they returned, Jesus asks them to go with him to a solitary place for rest.  So they jump on a boat and head off.  However, when they arrived more people were waiting for them, and the ministry continued right one going.

So I began to see my day of solitude as a similar interval between one land of duty and ministry to another.  That as Monday was a lot of meetings and “doing,” and Wednesday was another day set with “active ministry,” my Tuesday was more like a boat ride with Jesus.

I can imagine that on that boat the disciples were all bragging to one another about what “they” had accomplished, trying to “one-up” each other with a healing story or two.  However, there was Jesus…quietly re-framing their perspective and hearts.  Taking time to remind them of where their power came from, and giving other small nuggets of teaching along the water’s way.

How is your ability to engage in the spiritual disciple of solitude from time to time? Careful of seeing it as a “time waster,” and more as a casual boat ride with your Creator from one ministry setting to another.

For a person like me who is caught up in the land of “doing” and sometimes running fast to the “tyranny of the urgent,” it helps make such a practice more manageable and meaningful.


~ by Dave Smith on June 9, 2009.

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