A few suggestions for those who are able to get away over the summer holidays:
1. Encourage a local church.
If you are away on a Sunday, be deliberate about getting along to a local evangelical church. One of the delights of holiday can be meeting Christians in other churches. Sometimes the churches in holiday destinations are small; they don’t have lots of visitors. To have friendly, holidaymakers visit can really lift their spirits. Why not use the opportunity to find out more about Christ’s church in other parts of the country. One of the lovely things about being a Christian is having brothers and sisters scattered around the country that we’ve never met. If you want to know how to find a good church, use a list like this one. (I know COVID restrictions will make this harder, but it’s still worth trying).
2. Don’t confuse rest with laziness.
The Bible is really into rest. I love the verse where Jesus says to his disciples, during a very busy season: “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while” (Mark 6:30). God recognises our creaturely limits; he knows our frame and remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14). But the Bible doesn’t confuse rest with sloth. Laziness and idleness are condemned (see Proverbs 6:9-10; 2 Thess 3:6-12).
So, let me encourage you to use the different pace and rhythm of holiday, not for self-indulgence, but to connect to God, who brings true rest. With little children, there’s no such thing as a rest, but there is extra opportunity to play games, have family fun together, and read and tell Bible stories. Maybe, dads, particularly need to work on holiday to give our wives a break. It’s the devil who gets us to think that rest = passivity.
I’ve found this quote from R. C. Sproul Jr. helpful:
“Relax, wind-down, recreate by doing rather than watching. Reading is better than television. Talking is better than reading. Learning to play music is better than listening to music. Making is better than buying. Those who can rest while still exercising dominion are not only more productive, but more rested”.
3. Be grateful.
Holiday is a luxury that not everyone in our church gets, and the majority of Christians in history never experienced. Thank God for the significant affluence you have, not necessarily financially, but socially, that allows you the opportunity to get away. God “richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim 6:17); “every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). Holiday is a gift, not a right. Let’s resolve to be generous to those in our church who have less. Let’s not fall prey to the view of holiday as redemption, which washes away all our troubles. Over the summer holidays, we’re still pilgrims who know that eternal rest is only to be found in God’s heavenly city.