Tomorrow Jean and I start our summer vacation. We are taking two weeks, but are starting a bit early as I will be conducting a beachside wedding. It will be my first time to the Jersey Coast. Very cool! Other than this and a day trip or so, we will most likely spend most of our vacation at home. Having already spent a week’s vacation and lots of $$$ remodeling our kitchen and flooring; we are pretty much by necessity planning on a “stay-cation”. And on the surface, that sounds so… boring. But is that really a bad thing?
Over the years I too have taken the busy vacations; traveling here and there, doing this and that. I’ve stressed over packing, connections, directions, and the costs. I’ve done some really fun things, and gone to some wonderful places; but I also remember the many times I returned from my “vacation” utterly worn out… not to mention a whole lot “broker” (I don’t think that’s really a word, but it works). So much for relieving stress and finding refreshment.
I came across this verse today, Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalm 116:7). Life is much more than rushing here and there wearing oneself out. Do we take time to sit still for a while and “know that He is God” ? Do we really get the nature of true worship? It doesn’t just happen in church. I have jokingly said that we may well put lawn chairs in our kitchen and enjoy our new cabinets. They really are a blessing. Do you enjoy the blessings God has sent your way? It is so easy to take such things for granted, to miss the beauty and blessings that God has provided in our quest for the next thing.
As I grow older I am finding it increasingly sad to see the number of people who work incredible hours to afford the bigger home, the nicer car(s), the boats, toys, and the exotic vacations… but never really seem to find rest, never seem to find time to truly enjoy the bounty that they have. And I’m not just talking about “stuff”. Do you comprehend the blessings of the people in our life? Our spouses, our children, our friends. Do you find rest in and with them?
I am not saying that the only good vacation is a “stay-cation”. I am praying that God will allow Jean and I an opportunity to take a trip of a lifetime next year with some very good friends. But at the same time, I don’t want to miss the opportunities to simply rest in the Lord… to catch my breath, still my mind… and find that time of refreshment. Soon enough, toil and trouble will be headed my way… and the forces of Hell will not doubt come a knocking. But as real as that is, here’s another, And [God] said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)
And then there are the precious words of my Savior, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV84)
So… Get some rest… in Christ. Slow down just a bit. I’m thinking even Tiggers need to rest a bit once in a while.
Looking Ahead… I will be back at the church on 8/30. That Sunday will be a day of prayer and communion. I am hoping to join Tom Toone’s Bible Study group as they prayer walk at a local school. Following that we will have a season of prayer in our worship service, along with the Lord’s Supper. We have a lot to pray about! The following Sunday, 9/6, I will be doing the second part of my message: Followers of Christ and Antichrists. Keep Pastor John in your prayers. Blessings and see you soon.