Summer is here; it’s all but official. The last day of school is this Saturday, but Greenbrier’s High School graduation was Tuesday night, and Wednesday night was the last night of our children’s activities until the Fall. Soon families will be pulling out of the driveway for vacation, yard work will become routine, and vegetables will start proliferating. Youth camp and VBS will be here before we know it. (Seriously, Youth Camp starts this Sunday night!)
This is a natural time of transition, and our schedules often feel it. Not being in the same routine can lead us to neglect certain things, whether through excessive busyness or unexpected laziness. However, we would do well to redeem this time by proactively seeking the most important things for God’s glory. Here are some tips to make the most of your summer.
1. Pick a time and place to read God’s Word and pray.
We are creatures of habit, so we need structure to thrive. Slotting our time with the Lord at the same time each day makes us more certain to follow through than if it’s scattered at different times each day. For the summer, try having your quiet time at a particular time each day and in a particular place—on the patio, at your kitchen table, in a recliner, at your desk, etc. This will also ensure with greater probability that you will be consistent. Your time with God is more valuable and essential to your joy than you realize; make it a priority.
2. Serve someone else in a creative way.
Serving others has a way of bringing fresh air deep into your spiritual lungs. We have several opportunities for you to be involved in serving others this summer—Youth Camp (May 26-30), VBS (June 9-13), the Dorcas Room (1st Saturday and 3rd Thursday each month), Men’s Ministry Event (July 9), as well as others as they arise. These are great to be involved in, but I would also encourage you to do something simple—like making dinner for your new neighbors, visiting homebound members, or writing encouraging notes to police officers and firemen. Be creative in your service of others.
3. Read a book.
It is a necessity for a believer to read God’s word on a regular basis. But reading other books on various subjects—marriage, leadership, parenting, finances, missions, or Christian biography—do wonders for strengthening your faith. Ask someone for a recommendation, pick one up from the local library or our church library, or purchase one and read it over the summer.
4. Share your faith.
If you haven’t shared the gospel or your testimony of salvation to someone in a long time, the summer is a great time to. People are out and about all over the place, and you may find that you have more time to spend with people in casual conversation. Let those opportunities blossom into a loving conversation about Jesus and how His grace has changed you.
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Prison of Weariness
Like us, Jesus’ hearers were weary. Not the kind of weariness that we get from working hard all day, but the kind we get from bearing an internal burden that no one sees. Weariness from bearing a burden that weighs heavily on our mind while our head weighs heavily on our pillow. This kind of weariness is what Christ offers rest from.
Pressures and expectations and deadlines and money issues and relationships and responsibilities create these kinds of burdens. Often we’ve learned how to manage them so well that we can’t comprehend what rest from them would feel like. We’ve looked at the world for so long through prison bars that we can no longer conceive of the fresh grass under our feet or the music of the birds or the warm sun on our skin.
Rest in Christ
Rest is what Christ offers. “I will give you rest.” We don’t have to bear our heavy burdens alone—we aren’t even able to. Jesus invites us to give them over to him, so that he can bear them, and in return we have rest from them. That sounds like a good trade. Stress for rest. Pressure for peace. Anxiety for tranquility. Hurt for hope.
This is an ongoing transaction though. New burdens arise every day. Every day we must be diligent to bring them to Christ and hand them over. The longer we keep them and hoist them up on our shoulders, the more we feel heavy and weighed down and joyless. When we trust Christ with them we experience his light, easy rest.
This rest that Christ promises and gives, however, is not available to everyone. It is only for those who come to him. Only a select people will find rest in Christ—those who come to him. But he offers the invitation to those who will accept it.
His call to come, however, is even stronger than just an offer. The Greek word used here for “come” means “Come here!” or “Come on!” It was used to call someone to come eat or to come go somewhere. It’s more than just an invitation, it’s a excited command to come enjoy fellowship. Jesus knows that we are prone to try to figure our problems out on our own or to fix our mistakes or failures. We become locked up within because we never find freedom in striving. So he commands us. Come. Rest.