Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: When life gets overwhelming, trust Jesus to provide rest, resources, and reassurance.

Once there was a turkey farmer who was always trying to perfect a way to breed a better turkey. All the members of his family enjoyed turkey legs, and there was never enough for everyone. But after several frustrating attempts, the farmer told his friends at the general store, “Well I finally did it! I bred a turkey that has 6 legs!”

They asked the farmer how it tasted, to which the farmer replied, “I don’t know. I never could catch the darn thing!” (www.SermonCentral.com)

Life is like that sometimes. It’s full of frustrations; and even when we do succeed, it’s often more than we can handle. This is especially true when we’re serving the Lord, because He asks us to do impossible things. The Lord asks us to do things that are way beyond our ability to accomplish, things like caring for the poor, loving an enemy, or making disciples of all nations.

Howard Hendricks once said, “Living the Christian life is not hard; it’s impossible!” So what do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed? What do you do when the task ahead seems unattainable? What do you do when life gets to be more than you can handle?

Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Mark 6, Mark 6, where Jesus asks His disciples to do some impossible things.

Mark 6:30-31 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 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.” (NIV)

The disciples here are being overwhelmed by ministry demands. They’re so busy they don’t even have time to eat. On top of that, they’ve just returned from an intense time of ministry, having traveled to many of the Galilean towns, and they’re exhausted. So Jesus invites them to take a break. He provides them an opportunity for rest.

Mark 6:32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. (NIV)

In Mark 1, we saw Jesus going away to a “solitary place” on several occasions when ministry demands became overwhelming (Mark 1:12,35,45). Now, He brings his disciples with Him so that they too might experience the benefits of rest. They are depending on Jesus to give them the rest they need, and we need to do the same thing. When life and ministry get overwhelming, we must…


We must answer His invitation to “come apart” with him for a while. I like the way Vance Havner once put it: “If you don’t come apart and rest, you will come apart.”

According to an ancient Greek legend, a man in Athens noticed the great philosopher, Aesop, playing marbles some little boys. He laughed at Aesop and asked him why he wasted his time in such frivolous activity.

Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground. Then he said to this critical Athenian, “Now, answer the riddle, if you can. Tell us what the unstrung bow implies.”

The man looked at it for several moments but had no answer for the riddle. Aesop then explained, “If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it.” (Our Daily Bread, June 6, 1994)

Now, that’s the way it is with each and every one of us! We must take the time to rest on a regular basis, or we will break. We must loosen the bow string every once in a while, so we can be fit for the Master’s use. That’s why life and ministry get so overwhelming at times. It’s because we don’t always get the rest we need.

God established the pattern when he created the world. He worked six days and rested one. Jesus set the example when he ministered on this earth. He periodically withdrew to a solitary place and He invites His followers to do the same.

Jonathan Tunrbough of Garner, North Carolina, talks about the time when his mother was driving him and his sisters to school and she was pulled over by a policeman for speeding. After their little visit with the officer, they took off again, and his mother was very careful to stay under the speed limit. A few minutes had passed, and they started hearing a strange noise coming from the car.

“What's that noise?” Jonathan’s mother asked.

Laughing, he replied, “That's the sound of slow. We've never heard it before!” (Jonathan Tunrbough, Garner, NC, Christian Reader, “Lite Fare”; www.PreachingToday.com)

There are some of us who need to hear “the sound of slow.” We need to stop speeding through life and slow down every once in a while before we crash and burn. When life and ministry seem overwhelming, 1st of all, we need to trust Jesus to provide rest. 2nd, we need to…

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