I had just finished a sermon where I took advantage of our PowerPoint system to show a few slides of the beautiful places that my family and I had visited on our most recent vacation. As pictures of mountains and wildlife and flowers and streams filled the screen, I spoke on a few of the themes that I have written about in these blog posts. But the first post-sermon comment was interesting if off topic. A single mom walked up to me and said, “I can’t believe that I wasted ten days of vacation sitting by a pool at a hotel when I could have taken my sons to see a bison.”
Now, I am not nearly as critical of this mom as she was of herself. I imagine that for a single parent having a few days to lie around a pool sounds pretty great. Making a reservation at a nice resort is way easier to plan than renting an RV or navigating mountain roads to get to a remote lodge.
But I also heard the disappointment in her voice at the wasted opportunity to do something for herself and her kids that would truly renew her soul, expand her awareness of the world and create the kinds of lasting memories that would bond her fragile family together. It dawned on me that many of us who are Christians don’t think much about how to “recreate” in a manner that is “Christian.”
In a world where so many people are confirmed (even proudly so) workaholics, where so many people don’t know how to spend a day off let alone two weeks, is there a more “faithful” way to play?
Certainly we can speak of going to Christian family camps or family mission trips. Indeed, in another post I have spoken of “tithing our vacations” and using them to participate in God’s Kingdom ministry in the world.
But I also want to ask us to consider: What kind of vacation really is truly “recreation”?
Over the years that I have been the Head of Staff at our church, I have come to realize how many earnest Christian workers have a difficult time planning and taking a vacation. More often than not I have to “make” them take their vacation days, and very often those “days off” become nothing more than “bus men holidays” where they simply work from home.
At the same time, many of us feel like travel is just to too costly, that vacations are too self-indulgent. Others of us just don’t know how to go about figuring out what we really want and need to do with our vacations and we end falling into old routines that leave us feeling broke, fat, tired and all too glad to get back to work.
Over the next few posts, I’ll head off on this trail for a bit. And ask you to chime in if you like: What kind of time “off” makes us better able to serve Christ and glorify God.
What kind of vacation is best for our vocation?
Which is where I will pick up tomorrow.