Summertime is, in my estimation, a great season! The lengthened days, warmer temperatures and signs of life in both field and forest appeal to me. And then there are vacations!
I believe that vacations are important; apparently, a number of governments and countries agree. Joe Robinson, in his book, “Work to Live,” lists the minimum number of vacation days legislated by 10 nations (you may wish to move after reading them). Spain: 30 France: 30 Ireland: 28 Japan: 25 Belgium: 24 Norway: 21 United Kingdom: 20 Germany: 18 Canada: 10 United States.
The word vacation is not found in scripture, but the concept is taught. In Mark 6:31, Jesus emphasized the need for a break and told His disciples, “come apart … and rest a while.” The inference has been made that if we don’t come apart, we may come apart!
There are some potential pitfalls, however. Economics is one of them. Many have had “plastic” vacations and consequently experienced the stress that comes with paying the credit cards off just in time to start running them up again for Christmas. Successful vacations are affordably planned to enhance our family, not impress the neighbours.
Co-operation and communication are also important. A vacation is a family affair, after all; in fact, part of a successful vacation will in all likelihood include some careful consideration of and consultation with other family members.
Vacations are, to some degree, about making memories. Good memories are not necessarily built on popular, expensive places or events.
One of our most memorable family adventures was dropping into an Afro-American church in Atlanta, Ga. We had a great time worshipping God with Christians of a different ethnic background, but the same faith. It didn’t cost a penny, but blessed all five of us.
I read once that a vacation consists of two weeks, that are too short, after which you are too tired to return to work and too broke not to. Some have said, “I had to come back to work to rest,” and “the kids drove me crazy on vacation this year,” or “vacation was too short this year … I’m coming back less rested than I left!”
While being an advocate for vacations, I would like to suggest that if we’re looking for real rest and rejuvenation, it will always tend to come from within. A good holiday may complement, but not create, rest.
The rest many seek is found, not in a vacation, but in a person. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest … Let me teach you … and you will find rest for your souls.”
Have a safe, restful vacation!
Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church.
— Faith & Reflection