LOVE FOR THE LORD IN OUR LEISURE
In our recreation and leisure does our love and loyalty for the Lord shine through in what we do?
This is the time of the year when our eyes are no longer on the hills where the slopes are covered with snow for tubing, sledding or skiing. Now we turn our eyes to the valleys where the rivers and streams flow and to the lakes where people are beckoned for fishing, swimming and water skiing. The great outdoors with its bike paths, hiking trails and tree shaded areas for camping and picnics are pleasurable ways to enjoy the beauty and wonder of God’s creation in summer. Psalm 121 is a good scripture to read as we consider vacation, traveling, and all of our recreation and leisure activities. Take some time to read it; it is short. The Lord communicates and teaches us so well and so specifically in the words of this psalmist.
Unfortunately leisure can become unbalanced, misused or abused. For some, labor is the only thing in life. For others leisure is the only thing in life; they live for the weekends. For them leisure and recreation are the sole purpose of living, but IS THAT WHERE LIFE IS FOUND?
Robert E. Neale in "In Praise Of Play" writes this: "It is apparent that leisure is threatening to modern man. It provokes boredom in the individual who does not know what to do with himself (or herself). It elicits shame in the person who must be important by means of busyness. It gives rise to guilt in anyone who seeks justification by good works. And it provokes anxiety in the many whose free time exposes them to the alienation and meaninglessness of their lives. So, despite the accusation by some critics that we live in a FUN SOCIETY, leisure is more of a problem than a thing of promise."
The LORD wants you and me to experience life with vitality rather than meaninglessness, joy rather than bitterness, peace rather than anxiety, goodness rather than shame; so read again what is said in Psalms 121:7-8.
"The Lord will keep you from all harm--He will watch over your life;
He will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."
Maybe this paraphrase of Psalm 23 by an unknown author can also help us put into perspective where our love and loyalty for the Lord is or needs to be:
Recreation is my shepherd, I shall not stay home.
It maketh me to lie down in a sleeping bag.
It leadeth me down the interstate each weekend.
It restoreth my sun tan; it leadth me to state parks for my comfort’s sake.
Even tho’ I stray on the Lord’s day; I will feel no reprimand for I am relaxed.
My rod and my reel, they comfort me.
I anoint my skin with oil, my gas tank runneth over;
surely my trailer shall follow me all the weekends of the summer,
and I shall return to the house of the Lord this fall.
But by then it will be hunting season, and that’s another psalm.
Let’s go now to a conversation between Jesus and a lawyer. Now this lawyer was not into leisure in his ambition for life. He was not necessarily into making a lot of money. Work was not necessarily his pursuit of life. Let us listen to the exchange between the Lord and this lawyer in Luke 10:25-28.
"On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus.
‘Teacher,’ he asked. ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’
‘What is written in the law?’ Jesus replied.
‘How do you read it?’ The lawyer answered:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
The person who loves the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength; loves their neighbor, (whoever has a need) and strives to do all things as unto the Lord for His glory and honor will discover life and experience it. See 1st Corinthians 10:31-33. 31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, . . . For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved."
What does this all mean? Is the Lord saying we cannot enjoy leisure, cannot have any leisurely pleasure, recreation, etc.?
In our nature excursions, hiking, swimming, fishing, recreational activities, golf, softball baseball, etc. let us GIVE THANKS TO GOD for preserving nature, that season follows season. Give Thanks to the Lord that we have eyes to see, ears to hear, tongue to talk and feet to walk.
Thanks be to God for freedom and the liberties to travel, thanks be to God for our country; and may we make use of every Sunday's opportunity to worship in other places with God’s people no matter where we might be.
May our love and loyalty for the LORD who loves us so much be a shining light in our leisure and in every area of life!
How does this happen? By belief/trust in and love for the Lord Jesus Christ; accepting Him as one's personal Lord and Saviour, choosing to follow and lovingly obeying Him.
Love and loyalty for the Lord shines through as we faithfully and lovingly do
His will and follow in His ways in our labor and our leisure!
Pastor Perry DeGroot