Engagement vs Isolation

Are you a people person? Do you love being around others and enjoying the buzz of conversations? Or are you a more solitary person that thoroughly enjoys your own company? Those that draw energy from other people are described as extroverts, and those that draw energy from time away from other people are described as introverts. Chances are, you know which category you fall into. These descriptions do not mean that you are always only one or the other. There can be times when an extroverted person craves some alone time, and an introverted one is desperate for some human interaction.

As we read this passage from Mark 1:29-39 I notice that Jesus includes both engagement and isolation into His busy day. This encounter is at the beginning of His ministry, so His ‘fame’ is not as far and wide as it was to become, and yet the “whole town” (v33) gathered at the door to see Him in action. There are a lot of demands being placed upon Him.

What I notice about this day’s activities is that it is once evening has fallen that the people gather. After sunset, and so it is dark. And people are there, needing Jesus to make them whole again. Does Jesus oblige? It would seem so. Lots of people, lots of needs, lots of time required.

Then we read in verse 35 that Jesus got up very early in the morning, in fact, while darkness was still around, and He sought out a solitary place to pray. After a full day of interaction all I would want is a good night’s sleep, but He knew He needed to take Himself away from that place that was full of activity and demands to make time and space to connect with His Father. Even there He was found, with the telling comment of “Everyone is looking for you.” (v37)

Other people will always place demands on you. For your time, your presence, your energy. It can be a never-ending stream. Even in these unusual times there are still demands on us, although different in nature. The important thing to remember is that in life we need to balance those times of engagement with our times of solitude, particularly when that solitude includes opportunities to meet with God.

We are not able to live an effective life solely in full-connection with others, or solely in isolation. It is not the model that Jesus set for us. So while we might be more in a separated state at this time, it is good for us to be sure that we are still engaging with God in a devotional sense, but then to be also pursuing engagement with others, to help bring about their healing and wholeness.

This may mean that from time to time we need to say ‘no’ – no to other’s demands or no to our own desires. This is the model that Jesus demonstrated for us to follow.

Be blessed.

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