It’s that time of year again. Students go on Spring break, co-workers take their quarterly mini vacays, and for the rest of us, we take our lunch breaks. Though the concept of “taking a break” seems so routine, I believe how I take breaks, whether they’re long ones or short ones, is a conviction I need to make. What does it look like to take a break in a God-honoring way? Are there God-dishonoring ways to take a vacation? After some thought and journaling, I believe that Christians should never take breaks in a way that results in doing nothing, even sleeping in order to rest is doing something. There isn’t anything wrong with taking a break by checking your Instagram, walking in the park, or taking a weekend getaway. But I believe (through personal experience, if anything), there’s always a turning point where a believer goes from taking a break by doing Activity A to procrastinating, putting off responsibilities, and wasting time… by doing Activity A. There’s always work to be done, for any inhabitant of this earth and most definitely for those who follow Christ. Even in the new heaven and new earth where believers will live in their glorified bodies in perfect comfort, work will still be there. Before the fall God commanded Adam and Eve to tend the land, which tells us that work itself isn’t a result of the Fall, but existed even when we had perfect fellowship with God. If I see lunch breaks and weekend getaways as moments of rest in my life, how much more should I view life in heaven as the ultimate rest? And (uncorrupted) work will exist there too. To sum this all up, taking a break in a God-honoring way, for me, involves three things:
1. It must be productive and not an excuse for procrastination (Prov. 13:4, 2 Thes. 3:11)
Whether I’m taking a quick coffee break or spending a couple weeks out of town or just plain sleeping, I should be a good steward of my time by using it to rest and recharge. It isn’t a reason for me to disregard my responsibilities, but rather it should help me joyfully get back to my responsibilities, whether it’s going to work, preparing for Bible study, or running random errands.
2. I should remain on guard and level-headed (Mark 13:9, Luke 6:46-49, 1 Peter 1:13)
When I have a “relax-and-do-nothing” mentality, it’s easy to let my guard down. When I go back to my hometown to visit family, it’s a struggle to be patient with them. On the rare occasions I get to sleep in on a Saturday, I end up getting very little done later in the day. Breaks are often times when our faith will be put to the test and our weaknesses will be revealed. (Psalm 26:2, James 1:3)
3. It requires a thankful attitude (Psalm 100, Eph. 5:20, 1 Thes. 5:18)
Like all things in life, moments of break and rest are blessings from the Lord and evidence of His providence. When we get up in the morning, how often do we thank the Lord for allowing us to sleep the night before? We must never take even the seemingly small or routine things in our life for granted. Because if we understand our salvation, we know that we totally don’t deserve anything. (Also, if you can’t thank the Lord with a clear conscience for your break, then you’re probably not fulfilling point #1.)