Summer is vacation time — the two are synonymous with each other! Families are out on the highways, taking trips to faraway places. Parks and resorts are full of people who come to fish, swim, explore, or just to relax. Summer camps are in full swing, as well as family camping and get-togethers. Vacations are for fun, and they are good for us. Everyone needs a change of scenery and a time to relax, ‘getting away from it all’ as the saying goes.
Jesus didn’t seem to get much time to rest during His three years of preaching, healing, and teaching. Once, He became so tired from teaching the people all day that He fell asleep as He and His disciples were crossing a lake. On another occasion, so many people were crowded around Him and His disciples that they weren’t able to eat.
So, Jesus purposely set aside some time for relaxation — He carved this precious time out of His intensive activity. He told His disciple, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest awhile.” (Mark 6:31-32)
Sometimes Jesus went out all alone to spend some intimate time in prayer with His heavenly Father. The Bible tells us about one of these “vacations”: “… and in the morning, a great while before day, He rose and went out to a lonely place, and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
We can learn from Jesus to make our vacations a time for refreshing our spirit as well as our relationship with God and our family. A vacation is an opportunity to come closer to God. Like Jesus, we can spend some time alone, talking to our heavenly Father and thinking about His great love and incredible faithfulness toward us. Perhaps a beautiful little get-away or scenic area can give us a clearer idea of God’s glory and majesty. So if you can at all, get away from it all—get outside, and connect anew with God somehow, someway, in His great outdoors.
Wherever we go, let’s remember that we are still God’s child, and that He is always near us. Let’s vacation with God, and not away from Him. Seek out some time alone with Him, perhaps at a nearby church, and worship our one God with the folks there.
Have a great, relaxing, enjoyable vacation this summer — but don’t take a vacation from God!
Rev. Douglas Thompson is the pastor of Gilman United Methodist Church located at 312 Gilman Avenue, Marietta.