Usually at least once a year I will take a private spiritual retreat. So, why would I do such a thing? For many reasons, but first and foremost because Jesus did it. In Mark 6 we read how the apostles were so busy in ministry that they didn’t even have a chance to eat. So Jesus took them aside to a quiet place to get some rest. Then after resting for a time in solitude, they were able to minister to the crowds when they came their way. Then in that same chapter, after feeding the five thousand people, Jesus went off alone again–this time without the disciples. Jesus models a balanced life of ministry and solitude. There’s no doubt that Jesus worked hard and was fruitful in ministry. So, how did he do it? In part because he spent considerable time with his Father in solitude and silence. And that is what I seek to do on my spiritual retreat. To get away from the crowds–even my family!–for a few hours over the course of two days, so I can sit quietly with God in a quiet room, soaking in His Word and responding to it in prayer. And then after resting in His presence, I trust I’ll have the spiritual strength to carry on as a Follower of Christ and pastor. It can be hard to carve out the time for a spiritual retreat. But it can be done, and it is worth all the effort. In fact, I have found it the best way to experience Jesus’s words from Matthew 11: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Amen!