Devotional

“Later in the day, just after the Sabbath ended at sunset, the people kept bringing to Jesus all who were sick and tormented by demons, until the whole village was crowded around the house. Jesus cured many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons. But he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew who he really was.”– Mark 1:32-34.  

Margin is the breathing room we build or at least try to build in our lives. It is the space between what we take on and the limit of what we can take on. Specifically, margin is the space to regroup, to get your mind in the right spot, to daydream, the time to pick up a good book or to take your kids on a bike ride.  It’s a deliberate time creating more balance and deeper engagement in everyday life. 

In some ways the pandemic has created some margin but in other ways it has increased anxiety, frustration, impatience, irritability and this quiet sense of desperation. We can learn a lesson about margin from Jesus during and after the pandemic ends.   

Mark 132-34 says in part, “people kept bringing to Jesus all who were sick and tormented by demons, until the whole village was crowded around the house. Jesus cured many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons.” Ever had a whole town gathered at your door wanting something from you?  Jesus did. Think about that scene for a few moments.  Jesus went to the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. He has healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a critical fever. At sundown, the Sabbath ended, and they began to bring from the surrounding region all these sick and demon-possessed people for Jesus to heal. Mark tells us “the whole city was gathered together about the door”: the lame, the demon-possessed  and those with “various diseases.” (v. 34)  It was a busy, full evening Jesus spent in Capernaum. 

Jesus had a full day. Mark records that early in the morning, before it was daylight, Jesus went out on the mountainside and there, alone by himself, he prayed. “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” (Mark 1:36)

The first thing Jesus does the next day is to go off to a solitary place to pray–to create margin.  Jesus models for us how to stay spiritually fresh. It doesn’t happen by chance. Jesus did it by taking the initiative to connect with the heart of the Father through prayer on a regular basis. Imagine what your life would be like if you set aside time every day, creating margin by keeping first things first. That’s the type of life Jesus modeled and calls us to emulate. 

During the pandemic and after we need margin in our lives. When you’re not hurrying and worrying all the time, you have time to think. Time to relax. Time to enjoy life. Time to be still and know that God is God. “Be still, and know that I am God!…” (Psalm 46:10)

Discussion Questions:

  1. In your opinion, do you have more or less margin during the pandemic? 
  2. What can we do this week to ensure we have margin in our lives during and after the pandemic?