Summer is a needed time of rest and relaxation for many people. This break from the various responsibilities of home, work, or school is a good thing. However, there is no such thing as a vacation, leave-of-absence, or sabbatical from your responsibilities as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus told his disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). This call also applies to present-day disciples. Even though your life in Christ is supernatural; it’s not superhuman. If you do not ever come apart, you will eventually fall apart.
All of us need times of rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. But remember that Christ’s call to his disciples to come away was a call to go with him to rest, not to go without him. So vacate… with Christ.
Here are several practical ways you can vacate with Christ.
Be marked present in corporate worship on the Lord’s Day. I urge you to make every effort to find a Christ-centered, Bible-believing church to worship God on the Lord’s Day, wherever you are. As you have made plans for food, lodging, entertainment, and the other things that may be important to you, make plans for corporate worship. You found a hotel to stay in. Find a church to go to. Be marked present on the Lord’s Day. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Don’t rob God. If you work hard, save wisely, and plan prayerfully, you have every right to enjoy your times of vacation. But Proverbs 3:9 exhorts: “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce.” Your vacation should not become an excuse to dishonor God with your finances. Avoid putting yourself in debt for the sake of a few days of recreation. Enjoy yourself, but stay within your means. And continue to financially support the ongoing work of the church. Remember that the ministry of the church goes on while you are on vacation. So don’t rob God. And don’t rob yourself by wasting your resources and missing your opportunity to make spiritual investments.
Use your extra time on some things that have eternal significance. Your vacation time is a great time to get some rest, enjoy your favorite hobbies, catch up on personal reading, try some new adventure, or just hang out with family and friends. All of these things have their place. But how often have you said that you would pray more or read the word of God more if you just had the time? How often have you though, felt, or said that you would do something for the Lord if you just had the time? Well, your vacation is an opportunity to serve the Lord. No, you don’t have to spend all your time doing ministry. But are you willing to spend any of your time doing ministry? Paul exhorts, “Look carefully then how you walk not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:15-17).
Enjoy yourself. That’s an order. Have a good time on your vacation. Enjoy the Lord’s goodness to you. Don’t feel guilty about it. And don’t let other people lay a guilt trip on you. God is not against your enjoyment of personal pleasure. 1 Timothy 6:17 tells us that God “richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” God is the ultimate source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). God is the one that gives life and breath and all things (Acts 17:25).
Friend, God is not some cosmic-killjoy, set on stopping everyone from having a good time. The Lord is not against pleasure. But he is against those who are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:4). So enjoy the blessings of the Lord, the graces of life, the fruit of your labor, the opportunity to travel, and the company of family and friends. But make sure you keep pleasure in its place. Or as 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”