It seems like we are constantly living our lives for the next big break - spring break, summer break, or maybe the ultimate break (no not death) - retirement. Don't get me wrong, I love vacation and spending time away with my family or friends. But when we vacation - do we vacate from everything...including our relationship with Jesus. The Bible does not address such matters specifically but let's consider a few thoughts as we hit the summer.
First, when you pack for your travels don't forget your Bible and other good reading resources. These times away can be great - to decompress and gather your thoughts. But as you do, gather your thoughts around the Word of Christ. If you don't open your Bible all summer it may be difficult to get back into regular, good patterns when you get back to the regular part of life. Make the most of long drives or quiet moments by the lake. Spend time pursuing Jesus through his word even when you are out of town.
Second, when you travel, think about joining another church for corporate fellowship and worship. Sometimes people have "church" on their own, with just their family. There is nothing wrong with this but just because you are at the beach or visiting the Grand Canyon doesn't mean there is no place to be encouraged or worship Christ with other followers of Jesus. In fact, you might find it richly encouraging to worship in a church that is not like yours while you are away. I remember a friend of mine who, while on vacation in the south, stepped into a church of mostly African Americans Christians. He and his family stuck out (they were not African American in case you were wondering). But they had a great time of of fellowship and learned a great deal from the music, enthusiasm and hospitality of other brothers and sisters of Jesus. Maybe even plan ahead to know where you are going to visit before you even get to your final destination. They are great churches all over the country.
Third, don't forget to pray for and give to your local church even as you travel. Pray for your pastor and the leadership as you travel. The summer can be busy. Maybe even call or email them encouraging your leaders hearts. Remember to give is also important. Now this may take some planning on your part, but just because you are on vacation does not mean that everything else stops. In fact, the summer is a time when giving to the weekly needs of the church most often dips - but there are still missionaries to support, evangelism to be done and ministries to fund. Make it a family moment as you put a stamp on an envelope and mail your giving back to your home church or give early or ahead so that you don't forget when you return.
Summer Vacation is a great time - I know my kids love it. As you take a few days or a few weeks to get away - remember to not put a pause on your pursuit of Jesus this summer. Because the spirit of God is in you, He goes where you go - even on vacation - make sure he is welcome and part of your plans this summer.
Pastor - Temple Baptist Church