The principle of rest is woven into the pages of Scripture. But in our twenty-first century mentality of hurry, we often miss it.
God built cycles of work and rest into creation. (See Genesis 2:2–3; Exodus 20:11.) Even Jesus highlighted the necessity of having times of rest.
And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.—Mark 6:31
But there is a subtle temptation that comes with times of rest: selfishness.
Vacation is all about me, right? Taking a day off is my day off.
Or is it? Isn’t it rather about renewing our energy to more effectively invest our lives for the Lord?
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;—Colossians 3:23
What can you do to enjoy times of rest with purpose this summer? Here are a few thoughts:
1. Stake your claim.
Know who you are in Christ, and maintain a heart for godliness even during vacation. There is nothing unspiritual in the least about taking time to rest, and the summer is a great time to do it. But a rest from the normal routines of life should never be a rest from a relationship with God. In fact, time away from other routines is a great time to plan extended times in God’s Word and seeking His face.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.—Psalm 119:2
2. Hold your position.
Refuse to be a chameleon Christian who has one set of convictions at home and another set on vacation. Enjoy relaxation physically and mentally, but don’t relax in the spiritual battle.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.—Ephesians 6:13
3. Honor the Lord.
Honor God as you pray for your meals at out-of-town restaurants or with extended family.
And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.—Acts 27:35
Honor Him with your tithes and offerings through the summer.
Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:—Proverbs 3:9
And honor Him by witnessing for Him wherever you are. Put some gospel tracts in your car, and keep them in your shirt pocket or purse. You’ll be surprised at how often the Holy Spirit prompts you to witness or gives you an opportunity to speak of Christ when you are prepared.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.—Romans 1:16
4. Make memories with your family.
When you plan some time for rest, try to plan special times to make memories with your family—especially if you have children. And remember, what makes great memories for children is not necessarily an expensive trip to Disneyworld. It is having time with you.
Even if you are not taking a five-day “vacation,” plan day trips to memory-making times near you—the zoo, the ocean, a museum, or even the park!
Take pictures, make memories, and create bonding times.
5. Complete a project.
Pick a project—any project—and set a goal to work toward this summer. It may be cleaning the garage, painting the kitchen, or reading through a pre-determined list of books. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but setting a goal will help you stay focused toward productivity.
If you have children, give them a summer project as well. Better still, choose a project to do with them this summer. This could be books you read separately and discuss together. It could be a garden or a yard landscaping project. It could be anything that gives them summer focus and you both an opportunity to make memories and grow closer.
Vision has been defined as “a preferable picture for the future.” I have noticed, however, that the future never shapes itself into a preferable future! But if we will take time to look ahead to what we will want to look back on at the end of the summer, we can plan a preferable future.
If in September, you look back on your summer and see each of these five elements, you’ll be glad you purposed now to invest your summer to the glory of God!