I am not really good at vacations! I love what I do and I have always said that doing ministry is my work and my hobby! I have a calling and when I am ministering, I am fulfilling that thing that I was called to do! Usually when I have taken time to go on vacation – I spend most of the time thinking about what I am going to do in ministry when I get back! Most of my vacations have been trips away from where I live physically, but everything pretty much stayed the same mentally and spiritually!
But things have changed! Joy and I bought a travel trailer and took our girls on our first ever camping experience! It was the best vacation I have ever been on! It was the best vacation I have ever been on because I saw this experience as making an investment in myself and my family. The travel trailer forced me to slow down! When you are pulling a 30 foot trailer behind your vehicle – your racing days are over! On the ride there I was forced to slow down and enjoy the ride, and I was able to focus on family, conversation, music, scenery and whatever caught my fancy! We will get there when we get there!
There was some work to getting everything set up, but once the major work was done – we had a lovely week of just being together and enjoying God’s creation all around us. We met some new friends, took in a lot of sunshine, spent a good bit of time on the sand and in the ocean and I got to read without having to be in a hurry! At the end of the week – we all wanted to stay for another week!
The most important thing that I got from this vacation was a RECHARGE! One of the things that the girls liked to do, was go for a ride around the campground on a golf cart. We would ride all day and most of the night, but when we went to bed, we would plug it into a charging system. If at any point we failed to recharge the golf cart – the next day the golf cart would take us nowhere! If a golf cart has to be recharged, the we as people must be recharged too!
You may not be able to get away in a travel trailer anytime soon, but you can recharge! Take some time during a lunch break to get out and away from all of the hustle and bustle and just enjoy what God has created all around you. Take some time to slow down and spend some meaningful time with friends and family – not because you have to, but because you want to! Take and make some time to allow God to recharge you with His energy and Spirit – you’ll be surprised at how much better life can be!
We are studying our way through the book of Romans on Wednesday evenings! Last night we took a look at Romans 6:17-19. Verse 17 says: “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were intrusted.” I really like this verse, because it reminds me of some very important things that I need to remember to remember!
First – It reminds me that I need to be thankful to God! Just stop for a minute and try to push all of the distractions of life aside and think (I mean – really think) about all that you have to be thankful for! God has been and is so good to us! He has filled our lives with many miraculous and wonderful blessings. Even the person who has had a tougher life than usual can find things to be thankful for – if we will just take the time to think about it. God allowed me to sleep last night and wake up this morning! God helped me to get out of bed and gave me a breakfast to enjoy and nourish my body. God gave me today to get closer to Him by serving others and making a difference in life. God did not allow anything to happen to me today – that He did not give me the grace and strength to handle. And the list could go on and on and on!
I know that I am living a truly thankful life, when I begin to live my life for Him! When I take the time to think, I also must make some time to thank the one who gave me all of the things to think that I am thankful for! (Read that one again!) Being thankful is more than just saying a word. If I am truly thankful, I will express my thankfulness with the way that I live my life. I will live my life for God by serving others. I do not serve others because of what I can get! I serve others because of what I have already got!
When I really take the time to think about it – I realize I am not near as thankful as I could be or should be! There is so much that God has done and is doing for me! And there is so much that I should have done and be doing for Him! I hope this helps you, because it has sure helped me! In fact – I’ve got to go, because I got some stuff to do for God!!!
By nature – I do my best to avoid pain! In fact, I have told Joy many times that I am not afraid of dying – I just don’t want it to hurt! Last Sunday I shared in a message on ministry that sometime our ministry for God and to others will take us to a place where it costs us. Serving God will not always be convenient and work according to our schedule. Serving God will not always be easy – many times it will require that we give more of ourselves than we had originally planned. But if our service and ministry are really for God, then we can rejoice in any suffering that might come our way!
God is allowing me to learn some of this lesson first hand this week. I am battling some physical problems in the midst of one of our most busy times of ministry as a church. This physical issues are irritating, and a constant reminder that I am not as young as I used t be. But serving God by serving others continues to be the thing that I get out of bed in the morning excited about doing!
Last night I watched as so many of our church members gave of themselves to serve God by serving others. By the end of the night many of us were spent, but we still managed to hang around, joke, kid, laugh and give God the glory! There is still much ministry to do and there will be plenty of suffering to share, but we will continue to: “Proclaim Him… So that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end we labor, struggling with all of His energy, which works so powerfully in us!” Colossians 1:28-29
I look forward to seeing what God is going to teach me and accomplish in my life through the suffering today! Oh just in case you need an up side to suffering, here is one more thought: Have you ever noticed that when you are suffering – you are much more dependent upon God for His strength to get through?
As we depend on Him – He will use us to bless each other and as we bless each other we will find the fulfillment that will encourage, motivate and push us forward! God Bless & Keep It Real!