Is GOD Lord of My Leisure?

"But seek first his kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So, they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place” (Mark 6:30-32).

“I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything, but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

Amidst more leisure time than previous generations have known, many Christians today, instead of being temples of praise to God are actually taverns of worry and frustration.

Americans have more leisure now than ever before, but their use of it is questionable. True, they’ve done more flower gardening and lawn keeping, have finished more basements and attics, and have attended more football games. Nevertheless, little, if any of that time has been directed Godward. In fact, they have become proportionately more godless as leisure time has increased. Added personal freedom has made them more self-satisfied, and more inclined to seek pleasures other than God. How many have found more time for personal devotions and family prayers? Our spare time has not made us a more law-abiding or happier nation, nor will it do so until God is made Lord of our leisure.

All persons seek a heightened sense of life, and so they should. The art of sheer enjoyment is a rare and precious one. Jesus never planned to subtract dimension from any life, but to add it.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

He who keeps the fires of his soul banked so that they burn warmly, has immeasurably increased his capacity for genuine enjoyment.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

I remember with deepest joy and thankfulness the family vacations of my childhood because they were filled with both fun and worship. When they were ended, we all felt rested in body and renewed in spirit.

Things that accomplished the spiritual refreshing consumed little time but paid great dividends. After breakfast, while we still sat at the table, Papa read a Psalm, and in prayer committed each of us to God’s care for the day. At bedtime we all came together again, read from the Bible, and prayed together. On Sundays, we attended service if a church was near. If this was not practical, we had our own special service – singing hymns, quoting favorite Scriptures, and sharing ideas about spiritual things.

Somewhere we traded the priceless gift of being temples, for its cheap copy of one-day-per-week for worship. There is little wonder that the world looks on in disgust and no longer cares to keep the one day. Worship and praise should characterize the Christian’s entire life, and Sunday enjoyed as a day of rest. With increased leisure, there should be more time for God, not less.

(The above is an excerpt from the book, Timeless Truths of the Christian Life, which Marjorie Jackson compiled of Sunday School lessons which were taught by her mother, Margaret Tadlock Kann, to her adult Sunday School Class in Fort Worth, TX between 1962 and 1965. Timeless Truths of the Christian Life by Margaret Tadlock Kann is available for purchase online at bystillwater.org and on Amazon.com.)

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I appreciate how these truths are even more relevant today than they were when my grandmother wrote them.I want to notice and be intentional about how I spend my free time. What do I read? What do I watch? What do I listen to? Am I keeping my body, soul, and spirit fit and strong for kingdom work? IS God LORD of my leisure?

The next blog post will explore simple ways to add more God focus into our Christmas holidays this year . . . Lynn

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