We all love vacation. Every so often we set aside a period of time when we do not work, we indulge in our hobbies, we travel, we sleep in, eat our favorite foods, or go see the world. Vacation means something different to everyone, and and we all have our own little quirks in regards to how we spend our time and where we choose to go, but for the Christian vacations are extremely dangerous. Spiritually.
When we are in our daily routines, the mature Christian has an established time that they spend with the Lord. We read our Bibles, pray, spend time considering our actions and lives, confess sin, and seek the Lord and His will for our lives. Many Christians do this first thing when they wake up. We should continue to be thoughtful and prayerful throughout the day, and reflect on our days as we wind down for bed.
But on vacation our routines are interrupted – by design. We think we should be having fun. We sleep in, we choose activities that are different and we plan ways to absorb our time, we relax, and ultimately (albeit intentionally) we get lazy. We forget to pray. We forget to read our Bibles. We forget to consider our hearts and our actions and we find ourselves a week later having neglected the most important relationship in our lives.
Rest is good. Even Jesus led the disciples to rest.
And [Jesus] said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)
– Mark 6.31
The Gospel is riddled with the fact that Jesus, by removing our sins and enabling us to live lives that glorify God, gives us rest and peace. Our souls are complete by abiding in Him. Our eternity is secure by trusting Him. Our Spirit is at unity and peace by being made in Him.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
– Matt 11.28
But Jesus also instructed the disciples to get away to rest apart from the crowds. To recharge. But Jesus’ break from the ministry looked a little different than ours tends to. He rested by getting away and praying.
“But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.”
– Luke 5.16
“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.”
– Mark 1.35
“And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him.”
– Luke 22.39
Vacation was a bit of a foreign concept for the early Christians who were suffering persecution and being scattered because of their faith. They were suffering as Jesus had suffered and in order to find peace, rest and to recharge, they sought refuge in God through prayer.
We have a lot to learn from Jesus and from them.
I am in no way saying that vacation is wrong. I just came home from a week off, which is why I am contemplating the Spiritual danger of such a time. Perhaps you are an extremely strong and mature Christian who makes the most of time off and spends more time with the Lord while away and resting. But if you are like me, and many Christians out there, then stepping away from your routine can be dangerous. But it is also revealing and convicting.
Where is your treasure? Where is your pleasure? Where is your rest? And from where do you derive strength, energy, and peace?
If we try to go away and have a vacation and forget about the Lord, we will become irritable. We will slip into our natural, sinful tendencies. We will actually find ourselves less rested and more on edge. Our vacation will lend us to selfishness, we will fight with our fellow vacationers, we will not be recharged. Jesus said we must come to Him to receive rest.
“…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
– Matt 6.21
So let us stop and consider our motives and planning of vacations. What is our goal? How will we make time for the Lord? Will we be intentional about our prayer time and time in the Word? If we believe the Gospel, if we believe Jesus, then we must remember and consider the fact that we will not find rest and strength unless we spend time with Him.
Do you need a break? Do you need to recharge? Do you need rest? Seek out the Lord.
“He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.”
– Is 40.29-31