Monday, June 7, 2010

A Spiritual Vacation - My Aticle in The Southside Messenger

Spirit & Truth # 181

“A Spiritual Vacation”

By Rev. Greg Smith

At this moment, I’m writing from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My family and I are on vacation. I’ve been the only one awake for three hours. It’s been blissful—just me and my Bible, journal, devotion book, and a pot of coffee, in a wonderful beach house with the sound of birds singing outside. It doesn’t get any better, this side of heaven.

While on vacation, my family tends toward nocturnalism. We don’t worry about bed times, but let the kids stay up pretty late. Though my wife stays up with them, for the past two nights I’ve gone to bed before anyone else. I will probably do this all week long. This has allowed me to wake up long before anyone else and have time alone with God. I’ve needed this vacation as a time of family rest and recreation. I’ve also needed the time as a spiritual retreat, to re-focus on what God is speaking into my life.

This summer, many of us will withdraw to some place of relaxation and renewal. Don’t let anybody make you feel guilty for it—you need it. But I challenge you to make it a time of spiritual refreshment as well. Yes—you should see the sights, ride the rides, eat the fudge, and do whatever gives you joy while you’re on vacation. But also consider making your summertime trip a spiritual retreat as well. Take a significant part of each day to seek God. If you take a book with you to the beach, why not make that book God’s Word? Go ahead—plunge into the waves. But also immerse yourself in the Living Water.

The Art of Prayer says, “Cast aside everything that might extinguish this small flame which is beginning to burn within you, and surround yourself with everything which can feed and fan it into a strong fire. Isolate yourself, pray, think over for yourself what you should do… What you need most in your present position is solitude, prayer, and meditation.”

I remember my childhood vacations, how my parents would pack every minute of our time with fun and activity. They were paying for it—so we had to enjoy it! When we’re on vacation, we often think that entertainment is what we need the most. But I encourage you to seek God. Jesus told us to seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and you’ll have all these other things, too (Matthew 6:33). Seek Him on vacation this summer. Only in Him can you find true rest and renewal.

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