The Equipping Work in Your Post-Holiday Silence
The ringing chimes of Christmas bells and the colorful crackling of New Year's fireworks has come to an end. The decorative lights are turned off, and the garland has been put away until next season. This all signals to us that the holidays are officially over. It's a little sad if you stop to think about it. Sure it's nice to be able to drive down Main Street without all of the holiday traffic. Yet, there is still a piece of security that we find in the holiday noise--even in all of its hustle and bustle.
We often hear about the "Christmas blues," but there is also such a thing called the "post-holiday" blues too. It's caused by transitioning back into our regular, lackluster post-holiday schedules. We come off our celebratory holiday highs back into life's realities, bills, business, and bureaucracy. It seems rather dull compared to the fun-filled celebrations that we all just experienced with friends and family. Life now feels a little more undesirably silent.
Can I suggest to you, though, that this silence can be a good thing? In fact, Jesus intentionally engaged in many moments of silence with God within his ministry. It allowed him to be well-equipped for the sacred work of preaching. So today, I want to share with you one such moment from Christ's earthly life in hopes that you will find purpose in your "post-holiday" silence.
In this passage, the disciples started their day quickly bewildered. They woke up to find an early morning crowd of restless people wanting to see the God-Man in action. However, there was a problem. Jesus was M.I.A and the disciples were being hard-pressed by the growing crowds to find out where he was. So just like good disciples, they went out searching for their master to tell him all about their unexpected sunrise service of rambunctious people.
They soon then found Jesus in what scripture calls a "desolate place." This means an area that is abandoned or uninhabited. I imagine the disciples began to realize that Jesus had purposefully "quarantined" himself in silence to pray and had done so well before the needy crowds had even gathered. However, the disciples' were still burdened by the crowd's requests and urgently explained to Jesus that His presence was needed. Without shock or dismay, though, Jesus replies, "Let us go on to the next towns that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out."
Wow, could we do that? If someone put us on the spot right now to deliver a message about God, would we be up to the task? Jesus was able to do so because he was prepared. He spent intentional time in silence with God to have his heart and mine equipped for what the day would bring him. Hence, he was prepared for the crowds and their needs. I think we must honestly ask ourselves, then, are we prepared for the crowds that God will put in front of us?
Now I am not saying that you have to preach like Jesus per se. But, I am saying that we need to be equipped for the ministry work that God has designed for us both collectively and individually. Right now, maybe that ministry work for you is setting the right tone for yourself before you enter into Sunday worship. Perhaps it means preparing yourself to share the gospel with that coworker. Or maybe it means just lending a hand to a person you know of in need. Whatever your ministry context looks like, get better equipped through prayerful silence with God. Get prepared for your unexpected crowds. See, silence isn't all that bad; it is quite useful.