Featured in the June, 2008 Issue of the Ashburn Baptist News
What if your boss came to you tomorrow and said, “I’m going to give you two years off with pay”? You would be excited!
You really can’t imagine something that good happening. But what if it did, would you spend the two years lying on a beach under a palm tree, or on a Wisconsin lake fishing?
The fact is you have more than two years with pay. During the span of your work life from 20 years old until retirement you have more than a total of two years for vacation. This is valuable time. What are you going to do with it?
The word “vacation” frightens me. It comes from the same Latin root as the words vacant, vacancy, vacuous and vacuum. It means
“empty”. Over two empty years in your life – — -this will never do! How would you ever stand before God and give account for two years of loafing?
We should learn from our Canadian friends who call these annual periods away from the job
“holidays”. The word “holiday” comes from “holy day” and means we should view this time as sacred.
Are you one who needs to learn how to profitably use vacation time? Are you one who comes home broke and exhausted, regretting the whole experience?
Vacation is a test of character. When you are at work your boss tells you what to do, but when you are on vacation you are your own boss. How well are you doing at managing your life?
The great thinker Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) tells us what goes wrong with our vacations,
“Nothing is so insupportable to a man as to become completely idle, for he then feels all his nothingness, all his loneliness, all his insufficiency, all his weakness, all his emptiness. At once in his idleness, and from the deeps of his soul, there will arise weariness, gloom, sadness, vexation, disappointment, despair.“
The secret then is to avoid idleness and to be profitably occupied. Vacation time must be planned. No one should approach even one week, let alone two or three, without prayed-over plans for profitable use of those valuable days.
What can one do with vacation time? It can be used to nurture our spiritual nature. The world gets a grip on us and we feel ourselves spiritually drifting because we do not have adequate time to spend with God.
Even being a pastor I do not have all the time I want for private prayer, Bible reading and worshipping the Lord and not have to worry about the clock. At the break of day, when the quiet hush of morning is broken only by the songs of the birds is an opportunity for uninterrupted fellowship with the Lord.
We lament lack of time for Bible study, but why not each vacation time determine to get an elementary mastery of one Bible book? Over a period of years the entire Bible could be mastered in this way. Two or three hours a day for a week in one Bible book will give one a good grasp of its contents.
Perhaps you thought, “If I had two years with pay I would go to Bible college and study God’s Word”. But you can do that each summer as Christian schools offer one-week, two-week and three-week courses especially packaged to fit into your vacation.
Vacation time is a glorious opportunity for Christian service. Perhaps you had dreamed of being in
“full-time Christian work”. You can be during your vacation. Through our church you can share in daily evangelistic visitation, labor to restore back-sliders, or visit the aged and the sick. Two weeks of vacation can be given working in Vacation Bible School. Your skills could be used for repair projects in our various church buildings or you may help to maintain and beautify the church grounds.
Vacation can be used to visit out of town friends for whom you are spiritually concerned. You could give a week to help a struggling church. Then there’s always the possibility of visiting a mission field at home or abroad.
Vacation, instead of being a money-draining, frustrating, exhausting, nerve-frazzling time can be a joyous, profitable, spiritually helpful experience. It’s all in what you plan to do.
The poet summed it up in these words,
“Tis easy to resign a toilsome place, But not to manage leisure with a
grace; Absence of occupation is not rest; A mind quite vacant is a mine
distressed.” ~ William Cowper