Sunday, August 31, 2014

God's Vacation

Our three adult children all attend separate churches in the same small town, where they each attend the university there. It doesn't really bother me that they aren't in the same church, I'm just glad that each church is a Bible believing church and that my kids actually attend church. So I'm not complaining. I'm thankful that they have each decided that going to church is important and unless they have a very good reason for doing so, they don't miss many, if any, Sundays. Yes, I am thankful.

When I was growing up our family went on vacation for many weeks in the summer. At first we camped in a canvas tent and eventually a hard top tent trailer. A few times we actually got to stay in a motel but most times we were camping. We'd be gone from home for weeks at a time and we loved it. But even though we were away from home and our regular church, we still went to church in the nearby towns we visited. Some of the churches were of the uncomfortable variety with straight backed hard wood pews and no air conditioning or even fans, but we still went to church. Most times they sang songs were were not familiar with and sometimes the preaching wasn't like our pastor back home but I'm glad our parents made sure that we were in the house of the Lord on Sunday. Yes, we were on vacation but not on vacation from God.

There's nothing wrong with taking a vacation. In fact, God Himself did. After He had created the earth and everything in it, He took a break. He stopped working and took a much needed vacation.  Genesis 2:2 On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. Vacations from work are great. Everyone needs one and God set the example for us to follow. Did you catch what I said? Vacations from WORK are great. Not vacations from God. 

In each of my children's churches they are having a 'welcome back to church' Sunday on the second Sunday in September. Two are having a pot luck meal following the morning service and one is pairing up returning university students with families from the congregation who will host them for a meal. Each of these churches, and many others besides, recognize that summer church attendance is always low but now that fall is here, its time to stop vacationing from the Lord's house and get back to where you belong. 

In our first church that we pastored we had a young family who were regular church attenders from September to May but once June came they moved to the trailer at the local camp ground and we didn't see them again at church until September came and vacation time was over. The sad thing is that the camp ground was less than 1000 feet from the church. But in that family God was not a priority. None of the family is serving the Lord now and rarely, if ever, attend church. 

If parents teach kids that its okay to take a vacation from God's house then why would the kids grow up and make the choice to attend church once they are adults? Please keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with taking a vacation from work but not from God.

When we look at the example Jesus, God's own Son, set for us, we see that it was His habit to attend church on the Sabbath. Luke 4:16 CEB Common English Bible
Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue as he normally did and stood up to read. Did you see those words? "As He normally did." Jesus, God in the flesh, who had nothing more to learn from the Scripture He inspired to be written, was in the habit of attending church. He is our example. Jesus, who as God had taken a vacation, never took one from attending church. 

So maybe you're reading this and wondering 'what's the big deal?'. It comes down to priorities. Who is first on your list of priorities? You can say its God but unless you show it with your actions, then your words are empty. My parents taught me by their actions that God had to come first. He came first over swimming on a Sunday morning. He came first over sports. He came first over sleeping in. He came first over vacation time. He was and is, first. 

In John 14:15 Jesus tells us "If you love me, keep my commands." We could also say 'follow my example'. God set the example that we all need to have a vacation from work. Jesus set the example that we go into the house of the Lord on the Sabbath. Parents, lead by  example. When you're on vacation and can't get to your home church, check out a new church. Expose your family to different types of worship and new people and show them by your actions that God is first above all else in your life. 

God bless.

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