A Vacation Away from God?

I’ll never forget the (what seemed to be) gruesome trek to Florida that my family took when I was a goofy and chubby pre-teen.  Listening to my favorite CD on repeat and chowing down on scrumptious honey buns, I was eager to explore the Mickey Mouse utopia we know as Disney World.  Vacations whisk us away to a place where we can set aside the worries, tasks, stresses, and responsibilities of our everyday lives.

Some enjoy the serene escape that a wooded hideaway offers.  Some prefer to indulge in the bliss of our sandy ocean coastlines.  Some desire a family-oriented getaway that has a cornucopia of activities in which they can participate.  Some yearn for time to complete projects that have been on their to-do list.  Some just like the transcendent comfort that their couch offers.  We all have our ideal place of relaxation.

Every vacation requires a sacrifice of some sort.  We give up savings, vacation time, the opportunity for overtime, our typical routine, and calendar space.  We sacrifice in order to get away, recharge, and create memories with those that we love.

Though, could it be possible that we naively sacrifice the wrong things in an effort to engage in a good practice?  Could we be putting aside certain things that are actually benefitting us in the belief that a vacation will do a better job?  Could we be setting aside platinum and picking up aluminum?

When we’re packing for our trips, what do we throw in our bags?  When we’re buying tickets for our fellow travelers, who are we buying tickets for?  What’s lugged along?  Who’s invited?

Our God is a God of rest—that’s demonstrated in the creation of the Sabbath (Gen. 2:2).  Even in the midst of busyness, God is adamant about us resting (Ex. 34:21).  One can easily make a biblical case for God approving of vacations.  Though, exactly what sort of vacations might God envision his people taking?  Psalm 105:4 exhorts us to seek the face of the Lord always.  Are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit invited on our retreats?  Are the contents of our luggage representative of a disciple?

This post is not going to debate whether Christians should attend church, intently study the book of Romans, or only listen to worship music while they are on vacation.  However, this post is going to discuss what the Christian vacation might look like.

We take vacations with the people we love most.  That being said, the way that God fits into our vacation reveals the state of our relationship with Him.  Generally, we don’t go on vacations with strangers or acquaintances; we go on vacation with our friends and our family—our loved ones.  Abraham and the disciples knew God as a friend (Isa. 41:8; John 15:15).  Too, God adopted His followers into His family (2 Cor. 6:18).  We are truly called to be friends and family with the Lord.

The concept of a Christ-centered vacation is not a topic we hear about in church conversations or even Sunday sermons.  Taking a Christ-centered vacation doesn’t mean we have to go and build a house for a family.  It doesn’t mean that we have to pick destinations that are holy.  Nor does it mean that a trip has to be stripped of its fun, joy, memorability, or novelty.  Though, it does mean that Jesus Christ is intentionally and joyfully brought along because He is both friend and family.

What does this look like?  It looks like the Word in our carry-ons.  It looks like family devotions when soaking in the splendor of the Grand Canyon.  It looks like still being available for divine appointments with those we might encounter who are thirsty for living water.  It looks like still hearing God’s voice when we’re actively trying to tune out everyone else’s.  It looks like searching for opportunities to serve even though we’re off the clock.  It looks like Christ.

So…who’s coming with us on vacation this summer?

Jared M. Webb, Assistant Pastor