Last week I took my family away on vacation. We had a great time, and it was truly relaxing. The longer I have been in ministry, the more I have realized the importance of rest. I know that my family needs some time when they have my full attention for a long stretch. I also know that I need time away so I can recharge my batteries.
I’m not the only one taking a vacation this summer. It seems like summer is the vacation time for most families. When it comes to church life, we call this time in the summer “the Dip”.
Yet, sometimes I wonder if we understand what we are taking a break from.
You need to take a break from the rigors of work. Work already consumes a majority of our time. God knows that, and it is why he said we must take a break from our labor every week. It’s called a Sabbath. (Ex 20:80-11)
I think you could make a great argument for taking a break from technology. Cell phones with email have in many ways become an extension of our work. It’s not a break from work when you still are connected to it via technology.
But here are some things you SHOULDN’T take a break from:
- God. I believe it is still important to connect with God even in your time of rest. Honestly, that’s what the Sabbath was for. It was a day set apart TO God. Too often people’s relationship with Christ suffers over the summer because they get into “Break Mode.” One thing I did on vacation was I tried to consistently read my Bible every day. It’s hard when you have family plans, so you don’t have to be religious about it. But take time on your vacation to connect with God.
- Your Church. I cannot begin to tell you how many people disappear from the church during the summer. They consistently worship God during the year, but when the summer hits, they check out spiritually too. We are called to set aside time each week to worship God. I know that you might be traveling and can’t attend for a weekend or two. But when you take the entire summer off to “play,” you could slip into a spiritual coma and not recover. I’ve seen families that were very involved in the church slip away from the church community and their relationship with God after taking entire summers off. It makes you an easy target for the devil.
- Giving. We often make the joke at church that we see our giving tank because people are giving their tithe to Mickey Mouse. The sad reality is that it is true. Our giving which may remain consistent through the first 5 months of the year will drop significantly through the summer. Why? Because people do not make God a priority and do not SAVE for vacation. Spending money on vacation is part of the fun. But not when you take away from what God calls you to give to the church. In fact you are just turning your blessing into a curse. (Malachi 3:8-12)
It is good to take a break from time to time. Just know what you are taking a break from and keep your life healthy!