Don't Waste Your Summer
Summer has arrived. We may be a couple of weeks from the official start of the season but, for most of the country at least, summer begins on Memorial Day and unofficially ends on Labor Day. It’s a great time of year in so many ways and presents some great opportunities to grow in our walk with Christ. There are also spiritual dangers to be aware of as busy travel schedules; vacations etc. can lead many into a spiritual coma of sorts as Gospel-rhythms of life can be thrown off quite badly. So how do we take advantage of this unique season without neglecting our spiritual health in the process? Let me suggest 3 aspects of summer to utilize for your spiritual good.
I’ll start with the most obvious. Summer usually means time away from home, vacations and hopefully some quality time spent with family. Use your time in the mountains or on the beach this summer to read Scripture. Commit to reading a Gospel slowly this summer. Read good, edifying, Gospel-centered books. Have fun with the family doing lots of activities but use downtime for prayer and reading soul-nourishing books. Let us no neglect to feed ourselves spiritually this summer.
Here is my recommended book for everyone this summer: Discipling by Mark Dever http://www.amazon.com/Discipling-Others-Building-Healthy-Churches/dp/1433551225/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465229903&sr=8-1&keywords=discipling+mark+dever
I realize I will not get as much for support for point #2 as point #1. Believe it or not, summer presents great Gospel-conversation opportunities. People are out and about. Friends visit and cook out etc. All of these scenarios present us with unique seasonal encounters with people who need the Gospel.
• Invite an unchurched couple and a couple from your Gospel-community group over for a cook out. Use this occasion to foster relationships.
• Use an off day to hang out with a non-Christian friend that you haven’t seen in a while.
• Invite friends that coming to visit you to attend church with you.
Again, the idea is intentionally leveraging the season to expose more people to the life giving message of the Gospel.
Last, but certainly not least, do not neglect Gospel-community this summer. Don’t get me wrong: take your vacation, go to the park with your family, and spend time alone with God. Yes! But our need for Gospel-community does not go away when the thermometer hits 90 degrees. If your Gospel-community group is taking a few weeks off, consider inviting a couple from your group over for dinner or maybe catch a Braves game with them. (Ok maybe not a Braves game, but you get the idea) Men, invite some younger men over to do yard work with you. Regularly attend Sunday worship where you can assemble to sing, celebrate and hear the preached Gospel.
Seasons of rest and recovery are gifts from a good Father who knows that our tank, sometimes runs dry. In light of this let me encourage you: drink in the Gospel this summer. It is true: we need rest from the weariness of this life from time to time, but we do not need to rest from being a follower of Jesus. We do not “take a break from Jesus for a season”. For in our resting, in our vacations, let us remember, that if we fail to rest in Jesus then we really haven’t rested at all.
Don’t waste your summer.