For it is by grace you have been saved...

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Vacation

Ah, vacation.  What a word.  What a concept. Thinking of things God never needs and man always needs, we often think of grace, help, air, etc. But that list should also include vacations.  God certainly never needs one.  We're told He will "neither slumber nor sleep."  God never needs to "recharge his batteries."  Oh, but we do.  We need a good night's sleep, and from time to time, we all need a vacation. 

I'm not talking about the big cruise, or European excursion, or whatever.  Personally I don't ever see being able to pay for something like that, and if I did go I'd be so stressed out about how much it cost, I'd never get any relaxing done.  

No, I'm talking about a simple "getting away from it all."  Take some time off.  Let life slow down.  God knew we needed that time off, so He built in one day in seven as an "off" day.  But even then, we need more time away than just that once in awhile.

Charles Spurgeon (you remember him from "S" day, right?) once wrote that "It is a bad policy to forego the regular vacation. There is no more saving in it than there would be in the fisherman’s continuing to fish with a rent net, because he could not afford time to sit down and mend it."  He was speaking specifically to pastors, going so far as to say that "Congregations are most unwise who would grudge their pastor the time and the means to enjoy a thorough change, and a season of complete relaxation."  (Not that I include that in hopes that someone from my church might read this;  really; I'm serious).  But what's true of pastor's is true of all of us.  We need to take a break now and then.

I know that falls on deaf ears for a lot of folks.  We think that taking time off is a sin.  But research has shown time and again that regular vacations are good for our health, help with stress levels, actually can improve our productivity on the job, and do wonders for our family life.  So take some time off. 

And along those lines, even when we can't "get away from it all", we ought to take time on a regular basis to away from most of it and spend some quality time with God.  This isn't the two week out of town vacation, this is just a few hours on a regular basis to get alone and "draw near to God."  Spurgeon calls it a "devotional vacation."

In a sermon about drawing near to God, he said: "Fellowship with God is good for you, O seek it now; draw near to God at once! I would suggest to each believer the propriety of trying to get between now and the next Sabbath, a special season alone. Strain after a devotional vacation. Surely if you can spare time for holidays and recreations, you can clear a space for special drawing near to God."

If we can spare time for one, and we should, we can clear space for the other.  So strain after vacations.  And especially strain after a devotional vacation. 

1 comment:

Gregg Metcalf said...

Time off and away is necessary to prevent burn out. Many, not all, but many who "cannot get away" are full of pride that has deceived the in to thinking that they are indispensable. When I start feeling that way God reminds me that the stones (not Jagger) could and would call out praise to him. Another humbling point for me is to make sure I am always equipping and developing others to effectively do the work of ministry. Otherwise I am failing at my duty.

Yes vacation is sweet and a necessity. Great post brother.

As a matter of fact we will taking a vacation in May. I want to drive down to St Louis the week of May 18-23, how far are you from St Louis?