I am always so very glad to hear of people getting away; relaxing, refreshing, recreating. This is necessary for our physical and spiritual well-being. Its the reason God commands us to observe a sabbath, to rest from our labors and all that occupies us. Summertime is one of those times so many of us choose for vacation and time away from our regular day to day lives. I’m always delighted when I see pictures, and hear of the adventures many of us have in our time of relaxation and refreshment.
We have a tendency, I believe, when we pull away from our every day lives, to completely disconnect from our schedules and habits. When I’m away, as much as I have made it a habit to make my bed, when staying in a hotel I make myself not do that. A woman my mom worked with couldn’t stand it, she would make her bed even when staying in paid for accommodations. There are just some habits that are hard to break away from. When I take a real vacation, complete with paid accommodations, the last thing I want to do is make a bed, wash a dish, cook a meal. For me, vacation is pulling away from all of that. One of the reasons I’m attracted to cruises, EVERYTHING is done for you. They even clean your cabin twice a day! What a fantastic way to be completely at ease.
There is one habit, I believe, we should never disconnect from, and that’s worship. Worship is something which is a part of who we are. Even if we don’t necessarily recognize it, worship is a part of us, like breathing. We worship with every breath. Worship can be given in lots of ways; in prayer, song, and even with our attention.
The real kicker, is what and who do we worship? Of course the immediate answer to this is, we worship God. God tells us in Exodus 20:2-6, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
When we pull away for our time of refreshment and renewal, we should remember we are not pulling away from God. We cannot allow ourselves, in our time apart, to become enamored with the time and activity to the point of neglecting our worship. Whatever we place ahead of, or before God, becomes the object of our affection, adoration and worship.
From my perspective, I would say take God with you on vacation. God wants to delight in your travel, your adventures, your departure from the mundane and arduous. God built us to need these moments in our lives, and desires them for us. God wants to be included and a part of this very essential time.
The Psalmist has a number of admonitions for us about our need for rest and how God will accompany us. Psalm 4:8 says, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” In the 23rd Psalm, we read “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”
You can feel and perceive the restfulness the Psalmist exudes in what is written. God going with us on our vacations, us continuing to worship God in what we do, what we say, how we play. Even the author of the Letter to the Hebrews says to us in 4:9-11, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”
Whether we vacation at home or traveling, in places near or far, we should remember to worship God and give God all the glory. For even in our time off God wants to be the center of our life. Let’s remember to keep God at the center of all we do; in work, in play, in rest.
Your fellow traveler on the Way,