It is amazing how much we all need to take time to rest. It is very revealing what we focus on when we get away and get out of our ordinary surroundings. Do we choose God and the pursuit of His kingdom while we are on vacation or do we escalate our desires for the world and all that it has to offer? I remember what a very wise pastor told me when he was on my ordination counsel 17 years ago, “your greatest temptations will be when you have too much free time and money.” This past week, some dear friends provided us a place to vacation in an area near Destin, Florida on a road called 30a. Interestingly, it took no time at all for me to fit right in with the world and the desire for more. Shopping, even at discount stores, can still be the sin of discontentment. There is a sense of entitlement to this over indulgence because we work hard and serve others during the rest of the year.
Amazingly our friends who hosted us told us about a church that meets on the beach at 8:00am Sunday mornings. First test was to sleep in after a long drive and not keep the Lord’s Day holy. Thankfully the Lord woke me up early and we enjoyed a wonderful time of worship on the beach. The real blessing came when we had each of our children lead devotions each night. Instead of wanting more of the world we made a choice to use this time to seek more of God after realizing how quickly we can move away from God in an environment of great abundance. The Lord spoke clearly to me that what you do on vacation is a real reflection of your love for Him. Do we use our time off to rest, to pray, journal, and seek God together? Each night as our kids led devotions I was convicted by their godliness and the word the Lord spoke through them to me.
I was blessed to meet some leaders of a great ministry that takes families with children battling cancer to the beach and ministers to the entire family. They were meeting in the commons area of our resort. We had the joy of seeing these families worship, rest, and be ministered to in an amazing way. We were led to go and pray for their leaders and are going to be getting involved with this amazing ministry in the days ahead. Watching the talent show, I wept when I saw a dad dancing with his little girl who is battling cancer. It just reinforced how blessed we are and how much we have been given; every day is a gift from God. My prayer is that even in our rest we should seek opportunities to know God more intimately and minister to those along the way. We are thankful for the amazing family that hosted us so that we might be refreshed in our relationship with God and each other. Only God could have orchestrated a ministry to families battling cancer in our front yard all week as a way to be reminded what really matters, loving God and loving others more than ourselves!