As a writer, it’s not uncommon to be reading Scripture and automatically thinking of how I can use it in an article. Lately, I’ve noticed the severe danger in always being a teacher and abandoning the role of student. God has graciously appointed people to teach his Word and share the truth of his gospel. Teaching the Word is an honorable call, but detrimental to our spiritual relationship when it overwhelms our own personal devotion.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. – 2 Timothy 3:16
We are called to be salt and light, carrying and increasing the desire for Jesus everywhere we go. The teaching of God’s Word is a precious gift. We get to unpack and explain the depth of meaning and purpose behind words inspired by God. Scripture is undoubtedly used for teaching, reproof, correction, and righteousness. My fear is that our teachers, preachers, and gospel writers will tirelessly use God’s Word as a tool and forget to use God’s Word for personal rest and refuge. In fact, people who proclaim and expound the Word often need most what they offer.
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. – Hebrews 4:9-11
The author of Hebrews sets up this passage by describing the historic rest of Israel entering the promised land and ties the neglect rest to disobedience. This is a powerful claim against self-sufficiency. Even more, it’s a prescription for abundant life. He uses strong words like “strive” to describe the significance of this pursuit. It’s not a suggestion for us to rest in God and his Word. It’s an urgent call to spend time with God and in his word, for no other reason but to know him. Preacher, do you have an intimate place to read and reflect on the word for your own soul? Writer, can you read without the need to retell?
Teaching ministries may be the most threatening form of idolatry.
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. – Mark 6:31
Jesus speaks of rest multiple times. Yet, this passage in Mark is especially telling, as Jesus advises his apostles to escape the endless pursuit of people. He tells them to rest because so many people are pursuing them they can’t even rest to eat. Notice, the people in need don’t go away before the apostles rest. They leave, knowing there is more ministry to be had. You may ask why he would allow able men rest from ministry. Jesus led his closest disciples to recognize genuine humility and dependence. Teachers of the Word need rest to take care of themselves and, predominantly, to receive the same grace they’re called to provide.
Read Mark 6:31 again. My question to you is, how often do you let yourself rest when you know there is impending ministry? My guess is not often. We in our flesh see every opportunity as ours for the taking. What would it look like to trust God with our rest? If we reexamine the context of Mark 6, we see God’s reputable nature in giving more responsibility to the faithful. The apostles following Jesus do get away for rest, but shortly after, they’re found surrounded by crowds. This passage unfolds into the renown story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. The disciples see God’s glory displayed in an act of abundant provision for an innumerable crowd. Jesus’ honor and faithfulness is clear when we’re healthy enough to rest and watch him provide. It often takes more courage to be weak before a faithful God then it does to “pull it off” ourselves.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. – Psalm 91:1
Abide in Christ—because his shadow is where you want to be found. It’s the place of refuge, of rest, and of intimate dependence. He will sustain your ministry, because his glory goes beyond your invested work. Don’t resent ministry but courageously declare your dependence on God. He is faithful to fulfill his call on your life.
This year go to God’s Word to find your refuge, to fill you with joy, and to provide the rest you need. His Word is not just inspired for the teaching of your flock, it’s also for the rest and replenishing of your own delicate soul.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! – Isaiah 26:3
Chelsea Vaughn (@chelsea725) has served a ministry she helped start in the DFW Metroplex since she graduated from college. She received her undergraduate degree at Dallas Baptist University in Communication Theory. She does freelance writing, editing, and speaking for various organizations and non-profits. She hopes to spend her life using her gift for communication to reach culture and communities with the love of Jesus.