Solitude Speaks

jesus-prays

After leaving the synagogue, Jesus, James, and John went home with Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once. He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them.  That evening, at sunset, people brought to Jesus those who were sick or demon-possessed. The whole town gathered near the door. He healed many who were sick with all kinds of diseases, and he threw out many demons. But he didn’t let the demons speak, because they recognized him. Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. Simon and those with him tracked him down. When they found him, they told him, “Everyone’s looking for you!” He replied, “Let’s head in the other direction, to the nearby villages, so that I can preach there too. That’s why I’ve come.” He traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and throwing out demons (Mark 1:29-39, Common English Bible).

I am the quintessential extrovert. What that means is, I get my energy from being around people. I love being around people. I enjoy watching people but even more I love the interactions I have with people. At times in the past it has not been uncommon when Cindy and I both come in at the end of a day, and I have spent much of the day by myself, for me to say, “Let’s go somewhere.” Cindy responds, “Where? Then I say, “Anywhere I can be around people.” For me, being by myself can be draining and I need to go and recharge.

I know many of you are the opposite. Being around people is draining. You need to go off by yourself  to recharge. You get your batteries going again from the peace and quiet of solitude.

The thing is, we all need both. For the introvert, being around people is important because it is where we make a difference in people’s lives, being with people is where real ministry happens. But, being with people, performing the ministry God calls us to requires the expenditure of energy and they need to go off for a time of quiet and recharge.

I, and other extroverts, don’t so much need that alone time to recharge. I am getting that, at least to some degree, while I am doing the work of ministry. Still, I need some time in solitude because it is in the stillness, in the quiet that I best hear God speak.

As I type these words it is  about 12:30 a.m. For me (a night owl) it is the end of a long day of ministry. A good deal of it spent with God’s people. But, now that I am home, I need this time of solitude for writing this blog. I need it to cap my day off with a time of prayer. Without this time where I am quietly alone, I would probably fail in the work I will need to accomplish tomorrow.

I am not sure if Jesus was an introvert or an extrovert. What I do know is, Jesus shows us again and again through out Scripture that we need to both be around people and we need time to be alone with God. The lesson above is a perfect example. Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law, he heals others who are sick, he casts out a demon or two and then he retreats to “a deserted place” for some alone time, in prayer with God. And, as much as Jesus seems to love these moments, he knows he can’t stay there. He is back out among the people and at the work God gave him to do.

It seems to me, this is just what we are called to do. We are called to spend that alone time with God but we can’t stay there, and some of us really don’t want to. We have to get up, go back out and do the work of ministry, do the work God calls us to do.

God gives us a way to recharge. God gives us time alone with him. But, we can never forget, God gives us this time but God also expects us to be back out doing our work, making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Have a Great day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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