I'm on Vacation

—by Jeffrey West, Ruling Elder

I have come to really enjoy the rhythm of a college town. The fall is full of life as students arrive to start a new academic year. Home football games punctuate the fall calendar and give way to basketball in the winter. Spring break comes, and the pace quickens until the students are mostly gone by Mother’s Day. Then there is summer. The town takes a collective breath. Families head to the beach and the mountains. Parking is easy on Franklin Street. Church gets a little thinner, making it easy to spot the extended families visiting from out of town, or the new hospital resident hoping to get established with a local church.

This is also the time of year that this thought starts to creep into my head on a regular basis: “I’m on vacation.” This thought can operate in a positive way and perhaps keep me from checking my email while on a trip or help me stay unplugged to focus on my family. After all, I’m on vacation, and the point is to lay some things down to recharge. At its worst, the thought gets me to eat and drink too much, check out from serving those around me, or cause me to feel justified in being selfish with my time. It can also lead me to neglect reading my Bible and praying. If you’re like me, it’s hard to catch these tendencies in the moment, and more often it’s only in hindsight that I recognize I was being led astray by my heart’s desire for comfort.

To this Paul speaks a word in Galatians 6:9-10:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

This has challenged me as I have faced the blessing of being able to take a break this summer. The Bible is clear that rest is good, but there are no free passes to sin, no excuses for selfishness. Thankfully I only need to recognize my folly, repent, and ask for better foresight in the future.

So, let us rest this summer as we find opportunity, but let us not grow weary of doing good.