He was very opinionated, maybe on the blunt side of the spectrum. Standing there telling us that we don’t have to shoot pictures at remote places for stunning art. Rather, he said, just stepping out on our back deck one can find photogenic scenes of the world around us. The he in this account was one of my old photography instructors. I wonder if his advice is also useful for life in general.
One once said that when his family went on far away vacations, they would all grow closer. You see, they would slow down and refocus their lives. He even said it helped his kids come to Christ, they got to get their focus off of their day to day life and friends.
I guess I have to applaud the effects.
However, if you are one of my faithful readers from the beginning of this blog, you will know that almost two years ago I wrote on this very topic, vacations. So it will not come as a surprise to you that, while I think that while it was nice that this man’s vacation had good effects on his family, I actually find his thoughts a little sad. Since I have many new friends and new subscribers on board, let me dredge up the past post, as I do from time to time, and rework it for this year.
Summer vacation planning. Yes, vacation time. Trips. Many are planning, thinking and just can’t wait for that lustful destination. Some have have already gone. But let me “put a stone in your shoe” as you are on that extended vacation, or planning your third blissful retreat this year.
Why are you going? No really, what is the purpose? Where are you going? How much money are you planning on spending? Why so much? No, please don’t tell me, these questions are for you to just think about.
Let’s “Follow Jesus”
It is interesting that some take extravagant vacations because “Jesus went on a short sabbatical to get away to rest and pray” (1). Check out the following: how long did he go for? What did he do while away? How much did it cost? How far did he go? Did he go for his pleasure or for rejuvenation?
Now, don’t read me wrong here, what I am not saying here is that vacations are wrong, even on the islands. Nor am I saying we can’t enjoy ourselves, God gave us a beautiful world and people with creative minds for many vacation destinations.
But what I’m asking is how much are you spending, how often do you go, etc.? Now I don’t have some set limit of times you should go or the dollar limit you should spend. Rather, I hope you are using wisdom from above to make those decisions. In the book of James, in chapter one, James tells us to ask God for wisdom, he will give it to us generously. Wisdom is the ability for one to think and act using their knowledge, understanding and experiences in a common sense way.
For this case, as most cases, a strong foundation in the Scriptures helps inform this wisdom that God gives us. Have you desired and requested wisdom already? Have you done your research?
Perspective On Life
I find it a little sad that one has to take two weeks away to visit some exotic destination to grow closer to God. I find it a little sad that one has to take a week away from it all to help bring one’s family closer together and to God. I find it a little sad that one has to go somewhere for the third week long vacation across the country to be rejuvenated and slow down.
Are our lives that busy that we can’t set aside time for God, family and rejuvenation on a much more normal and periodic schedule? We have to take all those vacations this year to accomplish that? Again, think about the advice from my photography instructor.
Pro-Fun and Anti-God?
Then to add insult to injury, sadly some feel themselves very spiritual if they go on that grandiose vacation, but don’t want to share God’s gifts and message with others at home and around the world. Strangely enough, some think that it is godly to vacation but maybe less so when sharing the gospel, counter intuitive, yes. Sad? Very sad. It seems some are always talking about their latest get away, but does this not sound selfish? No, rather is it not selfish?
Why would a self-centered activity be more Godly than one where we share God’s gifts and message with others?
I encouraged one person to make a difference, she said she gives money to missionaries. Great. Good. But we all can do something, can’t we, more than money?
Will you be willing to give up some of your vacation to go help the poor, feed the hungry, visit the widows and tell others about the Kingdom of God? How about spending time to learn? Make a case for Christ? Help instruct other? Do you want to travel to a far away destination for a get away? Well here’s your chance. I am sure you could help in some way to make a difference.
For the Rest of Us
However, for most of us, if we would just take the advice from my old photography instructor, look to your back yard. Have family bonding by working together to help to a neighbor. Visit a sick person, visit a nursing home, visit the widows, make food for the sick man next door, invite over your neighbor that you have never met, volunteer at local homeless shelters. Take time to learn more about God. Slow down and read that book to make you a better ambassador or one that help answers skeptics questions.
In each salutation in life, be prepared to share the Gospel. If you don’t know how, I’ve written on it before (here) and you can check out the resources below. However, if you have been a Christian for a number of years and you don’t know how to dialogue with another on Christ, never have done it, or you don’t know enough about the Bible to share it, shame, shame, shame on you!
What have you been doing for Christ sake?
I have a friend, a college student, much like Paul he intentionally looks for opportunities to tell others of Christ. He puts me to shame, and I try to always be prepared and looking for opportunities!
– Family Evangelism—Effectively Sharing Christ and Loving It. (Download) (CD)
– Free Wonderful Book (God Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Life, The Myth of the Modern Message). (Free download e-book, Kindle e-book or hard copy)
– When Helping Hurts. (Hard copy or Kindle e-book)
– Check out iApologia Store for other items.
Short Term Missions?
Yes, then there are Short Term Mission Trips. Praised by some, degraded by others. But they can be effective. However, most don’t know how to do it an when they should be used. Many have the wrong focus. I would love to recommend a book to you “When Helping Hurts“, I think every single Christian should know the content of that book. It is just down to earth common sense on how to help the “poor”.
In the book, the writers make the case that most of these trips do more harm than good, to both the person going and the people “helped.” But if done right, they are very effective. This book will snap you back into the biblical focus of helping the “poor” and needy the right way without hurting anyone.
Come Back Around
Don’t know where to start? How much time did you spend finding that perfect vacation spot last year? Take that same amount of time to search out what good you can do. Do your research, how much should you help, when, where and how. Instead of planning that utopic holiday, plan that trip to help another’s physical and spiritual needs. I hope that “stone in your shoe” keeps bugging you all summer.
What are you doing for Christ’s sake? We all have a job, find an opportunity and do it well. Give them heaven folks!
I have a passion to have answers for Christianity. I believe this is only reasonable and right for me to do. If you also desire to give answers to your family, friends and even “foes”, you will not want to miss a post! In the future, I plan on giving more resources and answers you can share with both believers and unbelievers. I would love to have you share my vision, so please click here so you don’t miss the latest resources and latest posts and get them straight to your inbox.
What other ideas do you have concerning how we can work for the Kingdom of God? Some of my readers may disagree with me above, if so why? Share your thoughts below!
(1) Example: Mark 6:31-32 & 46
Image source: Wikipedia | Public Domain