As the summer of 2017 comes upon us, let us ponder what most people do during these months: VACATION! As I looked up the etymology of the word, it comes from the 14th century, “freedom from obligations, leisure, release,” from the French vacacion “vacancy, a vacant position,” and the Latin vacationem “leisure, freedom, exemption.” It’s meaning “state of being unoccupied” and “process of vacating” also correlates with the British use of taking a “holiday.”
Summer vacation means different things to different people. Some view vacating as going to the beach, others to get away, others to visit various places. My dad was into history, so the Youngen family vacationed by taking trips around famous places. We went to Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and other great places around the USA. It was great getting away and getting to see other places, but the only thing we vacated was home. This wasn’t always fun to us kids. But, there was one thing that the Youngen’s never vacated from, and that was the Church. We would find a church wherever we were on vacation.
This needing to be in church every Sunday can be taken to a legalistic degree, but it sure made an impression on me and my sisters that being with God’s people was important. This is emphasized in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” These are excellent verses to remind us of our responsibility to each other as part of the body of Christ, but not to guilt us into being in church when on vacation.
I pray that this summer you are able to take a vacation from the routine of life, but I pray that you do not “vacate” from your spiritual life. We need to take a rest and relax from the regular routine, but we should not vacate ourselves from our God.
The apostle Paul gives us great insight into how we are to live holy lives faithfully before our God.
Have a great vacation this summer, but don’t vacate your spiritual life in the Holy Spirit. Rest in Christ and He will give you all you need to live a holy life for Him.
(This article originally appeared in the June/July issue of "Colony Communique", a publication of First Brethren Church in South Bend, IN)