My daughter Amy and I are introverts. We don’t care for crowds; we like our SOLITUDE. In fact, she says she going to get me a t-shirt that says, “Introverts Unite! By yourselves! Alone! At home!” (I’d wear that t-shirt!).
In an extroverted world, we introverts are often thought anti-social (and we pretty much are). How do Christians get STUCK in SOLITUDE?
What we are thinking of are the Christian disciplines that ought to mark healthy, Jesus-following lives. SOLITUDE is one of those practices that can draw us closer to Jesus.
The classic treatment of the spiritual disciplines is the work done by Richard Foster in his Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth (Harper, 1998). He divides the disciplines into three categories. The inward disciplines are: meditation, prayer, fasting, and study. The outward disciplines are: simplicity, solitude, submission, and service. The corporate disciplines are: confession, worship, guidance, and celebration. You won’t agree with all that Foster says about these practices, but each has biblical support and is valuable for the believer who doesn’t want to get STUCK!
Our text for this area of STUCKNESS is Mark 6:30-34 where we read,
30 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. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Let’s think about this passage for a moment. Note that the apostles had been quite busy doing what Jesus had commanded and teaching others. They were so busy in fact that they did not have time to eat. Jesus invites His disciples to “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (v. 31). They needed SOLITUDE. They needed rest. They needed to be away from the crowds. Jesus’ invitation to His followers is refreshing. He knows our frame, our weaknesses, our need for quiet and rest. Just being alone — with Him. Have you tried that lately? (to be continued)