For a lot of youth pastors across the nation, summer is one long sprint. Children are free from school-year commitments, and many pastors and youth leaders pounce on the opportunity. It’s go time. However, while everyone else may be enjoying summer vacations, for many youth workers the busyness tends to pick up. Amusement parks, missions trips, camps–for each age group–ice cream runs, water games, picnics, VBS, evening activities, Bible studies, and other things vie for our time. It never seems to end.
People tend to take vacations to get refreshed and to recharge for future tasks at hand. Why not do the same thing for your own spiritual life?
I would suggest taking a vacation this summer—every day.
Many times, we get so wrapped up in doing God’s work that we forget to take time out and let God work in us. In numerous instances throughout the Bible, Christ spent time alone with God. Usually it was in the morning.
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35).
“And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place” (Luke 4:42).
In the previous two verses, Christ did this either before a big event or a day after. However, it seems as if Christ purposed to have time alone with God in the middle of all the action as well.
“But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray” (Luke 5:15, 16).
“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray” (Matthew 14:22, 23).
In light of all these verses, it seems as if Christ followed His own teaching:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:5, 6).
Daily vacations. It seems as if Christ took them. Of course, this is all just a fancy way of renaming your daily walk with God. Many times in our lives we need spiritual refreshment for our own sake. (“He makes me to lie down in green pastures.”) Christ realized this, and so should we.
Here are a few simple refreshers on being refreshed:
- Find a secret place. I have one outdoors in the summer. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you where it is.) I’ve set aside a time each day to “meet” God there. Irony: I found myself missing it when my family went on a real vacation last summer. However, being in the habit of talking to God in a desolate place helped me meet Him anywhere.
- Schedule a time. For me the best time is in the morning. I guard that period of time as if it’s the most precious thing on my schedule for the day.
- Take your Bible. Simply, if you’re going to talk to God, it would be wise to let Him talk to you.
There really is no secret to having a secret place. Who better to go on vacation with than God? The awesome thing is that in all the youth group busyness and the hectic pace of summer, we can go on a daily vacation that costs nothing, is with the best Person, has very little prep, and can be truly refreshing.