I was prompted to read Matthew 5:1 this morning.
Before I began to read, I felt to ask God to show me something about Himself in whatever I read. I wanted Him to show me more, about who He is as a person.
The verse read “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him.”
To be honest with you, I couldn’t read any further.
That was enough.
My first thought was,
“Father, was Jesus with the crowds or were they back down on the ground.”
I felt like this was a time of private retreat.
In the past, when Jesus saw loads of people, He taught them, fed them, healed them and came over or down to them.
So when it said, he saw the crowds and went up on the mountainside, I thought, if he wanted to be with the people, surely he would have stayed with them or have one to them.
Instead, he went up the mountainside.
In the past, when He went up the mountainside, he went there to retreat, rest, pray, be refreshed, to hear from God and many other rancho relaxo type reasons. The mountain was where he rebalanced the busyness vs rest scales of his life.
The funny thing about this for me was, I had visions of the people climbing this mountain trying to get to Jesus. It kind of ruined the mountainside vibe…..So I concluded, it wasn’t very likely that the crowd were with him as He went.
Didn’t Jesus love people? Of course He did.
Why then, did he retreat to the mountainside and sit – especially when there were so many who needed Him.
My entire being knows exactly why He did that.
He knew, that I would need that verse.
He knew, that you would need that verse.
He knew that we all need permission to retreat up a mountainside and get away from the multitudes in our lives.
He knew, that sitting in His Father’s creation was refreshing to our bodies, minds and souls…..every part of us.
He knew, that some of us would get lost in the busyness and would need something that showed us how important mountainside time was.
He knew humanly we needed to do this in order to thrive!
I had a conversation with our daughter last night, about this very thing.
She is a total social bunny and would be with others 100% of the time (if she had her way).
Of late her past 2 weeks has included (outside of normal school etc.commitments):
•5 days of school production intensity – late nights, physical tiredness, eating differently, no downtime
•which flowed straight into her school camp, 3 intense days of travel, walking up hills, late nights, chitter chatter with people, new places, food, people and experiences.
•Which flowed straight into a sleepover at my parents home after attending a trampolining birthday party – 2 hours of intense jumping, music, hoard of people – then Nanna and Pop fun!!!
•Up early for church on the Sunday morning, new people, places and things….then on to cousins birthday lunch.
Late Sunday afternoon we all arrived home, completely exhausted.
Our precious one wanted to play and jump and dance and sing & truth be told annoy her brothers. Like an energiser bunny, she bounded about having fun, being on a high from the intensity of the past weekend and fortnight. All the while, she was battling a cold and she seemed unable to actually stop herself from bounding around.
As I lay in the bath just catching some relaxo mode for myself, she came in and began to talk and talk and talk. My head was tired of listening and my heart wanted to teach her about being still.
I encouraged her to find something she could do that was quiet, something she could do alone and something that helped her relax and unwind a bit.
“Why?” she asked.
Because in life, you are going to go through times when you feel completely alone.
If you have never practice enjoying being in your own company, that might be a pretty scary place for you in the future. You might not know what to do with yourself when that happens.
“Oh….but I don’t want to.”…she replied.
I told her “When you spend time by yourself in the quiet, it helps your body to begin to recoup and rebalance in the still.” I continued…”you need it darlin’, so the sooner you get started, the sooner you can get back to your choice of activity.”
Not so happy about having 30 mins of enforced downtime, she stomped off.
A chunk of time later, she walked back in and proudly told me that Holy Spirit had told her exactly what to draw as a birthday gift for my sister (her Auntie’s 40th).
She had the idea to draw and write down what He had told her.
She was thrilled that God had given her such a great idea and her eyes were bright and completely lit up and I was so happy for her too.
A simple example of be still, mountain time and what God can do within it.
When Jesus went up the mountain, He didn’t go there to busy it up, to care for other’s needs, listen to problems, heal people, get taken up in the flow of the culture or to forget the needs of His physical body and mind.
He went there to sit in His Father’s presence, out of the chaotic crowd scene.
He went there to rest and listen to what His Father had to say to Him.
He went up there to just be…instead of do.
He went up there for refreshment and recharge for the things that were to come.
He went up there, because He knew His entire being, as a human being, needed that time so that He could do the things that He wanted/needed/saw the Father doing.
What a stunning example of wisdom and good life balance.
In time, the disciples went and joined him.
And the sermon on the mount was borne.
Take time to go up the mountainside and be.
There will be many times in life when there isn’t anyone around, it will be just you and God.
There will always be a barrage of opportunities to be busy and in the crowd.
If you have never practiced time alone…..resting in the quiet….then you are missing out on such a rich time of refreshment and restoration. As a side note: You are potentially missing out on getting clarity for issues and questions. You are potentially missing out on the quality relational connection with the one who knows and loves you best.
It doesn’t have to be a long time, just go up the mountainside, a quiet place to be – rest and hear what your Father wants to say to you.
It will be the best investment of time in your week.
Go up to the mountainside, it is such a wonderful place to be….