Meanderings of a Minister

What You Do With Your “Free Time” Shows Your Heart


As I write this article, I am sitting in a condo at Grand Lake in Northeastern Oklahoma.  We arrived last night and will spend the week here prior to a very busy Summer of ministry that will begin when I return on Friday.  Friday night, our church will host a 5K to raise money for a trip to Haiti we will take later in the month.  On Saturday, I will be at the Harley-Davidson shop to hand out water to the Harley Owners’ Group that will gather in Liberal.  On Sunday, I will preach and then leave for Children’s Camp for the week, return to preach again on the weekend, and then head off to another camp only to return for a week and leave for Haiti.  Because of all of this activity, my family and I decided to take a trip to relax and charge up for the busyness ahead.

So what do we do while on vacation?  Many would say that they would want to just relax and not think about anything and not worry about anything and just make their time about focusing on them and their family.  I understand this sentiment, but I also wonder what it means to truly desire the things that are above and not the things that are here on earth.  What would this look like on vacation?

First, while vacation may be seen as a time to break our normal routine and open up more time for play, relaxation, family, etc., what is we took this opened up “free time” to connect with God more than we normally have time to do?  Jesus said, “No man can serve two master, for he will love the one and hate the other or he will serve the one and eschew the other.” (rough translation).  If Jesus is truly the love of my life and that which I am building my life on, then shouldn’t I WANT to take the extra time to connect with Him?

The extra “free time” of vacation also gives me more of a time to help my family connect with each other and with the Lord.   If vacation is a time just to get away from everything and connect with family, then what am I teaching my family about what is really important in my life?  What am I teaching them about what to set their hearts on?  Is it any wonder that my generation grew up thinking that the ultimate goal of life is retirement and the days of not having to do anything I don’t want to do?  Is it any wonder that, even in the church, people work at teaching, singing, and serving for a time and then want to back away and let others do the work?  Jesus said that we are to work while it is day because the night is coming when no one can work.  Let’s not hasten the night.

Additionally, extra “free time” can be spent, not only connecting me more with Jesus, my family more with Jesus, but could actually be a time when I could prepare myself to have more to pour out to others on vacation and when I return.  A little time spent in more focused reading, prayer, contemplation, or planning, can be time that prepares us to be of more use when we return to the place of ministry God has placed us.  That’s assuming that we believe we have been saved, not just from sin, but to a life lived for Him.

I hope you have a chance to go on vacation or take some time off this Summer, but hope that this time off will be of more value to than just going somewhere to have some fun, make some bills, and return more tired than when you left.  I hope that you are able to Raise Your Gaze to things above…even on vacation.


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