This month I have the joy of taking some time off, and I'm grateful for it. As I settle into the relaxing rhythms of summer, I'm reminded again of these words by John Piper about vacation (those who have been here a while might recognize these words--I've quoted them before):
"Jesus Christ is refreshing. Flight from him into Christless leisure makes the soul parched. At first it may feel like freedom and fun to skimp on prayer and neglect the Word. But then we pay: shallowness, powerlessness, vulnerability to sin, preoccupation with trifles, superficial relationships, and a frightening loss of interest in worship and the things of the Spirit. Don’t let summer make your soul shrivel."
The longer I've lived and sought to vacation well, the truer these words have become to me. For many of us, summer is a time when we slow down a bit. We sleep later on Saturdays because our kids' sports are over. We find ourselves with slightly less pressure at work and more time to spend with people. We take a couple weeks off for vacation. All of this is good, a gift from God.
Yet I find in myself (and I suspect it's not only true of me) that with this slowing down is the tendency to neglect my relationship with my Savior. How easy it is to forget to spend time in prayer, to fail to enjoy the privilege of reflecting on God's Word, or to isolate ourselves from the rest of our church. There's almost the sense that I (we?) feel the need to take a vacation from Jesus.
But that shows that I'm simply not seeing Jesus clearly. Because Jesus is the one in whom is found real rest. He is refreshing. Recuperation from the busy schedule of the school year comes from drawing nearer to him, rather than avoiding him.