Time for vacation? For many of us, that's what at least part of summer means. A couple of years ago we posted a piece by CJ Mahaney on godly, fatherly leadership which lives to serve our wives and children while on vacation. Since, that piece was so helpfully received by so many of us men who tend to make our vactations worse through self-service, we want to point you to it again. You can read it here.
At the same time, lest we think that vacation time equals ministry time only for fathers and husbands, think again as you consider the following words from Paul Tripp:
"Imagine going on a family vacation without realizing that life and ministry are one. Instead, you see vacation as an opportunity to separate yourself from the normal routine and duties of daily life. The flaw in that logic is pretty simple. If you brought sinners in the car with you, then you've brought ministry, too. So, when you're down the road all of about three miles, and already your children are arguing about who is intruding into whose personal space, you can't believe it. You tell them, not too politely, that you feel like turning around and going home. You tell them you're not paying all this money just so they can do in a different and much more expensive location all the same despicable things they do at home. Your voice gets louder as you become more irritated. It doesn't seem like a vacation anymore.
What's gone wrong? You have forgotten to live with a ministry mentality....God loves your children and has put them in a family of faith: your family. In his restorative zeal, he will expose their sin to you so that you can be his tool of rescue and redemption for them. Ever intent on his mission, he will again and again expose their need (for redemption) to you. And he won't wait for a convenient opening in your schedule." (Broken-Down House, pp. 194-195)
Tripp's words, along with Mahaney's, may be particularly apropos for us fathers. Yet, for any Christian vacationers - moms and kids included - God wants to use us to help point the sinners around us toward the Cross in hope of redemption and sanctified restoration. Therefore, vacation for Christians will never mean complete relaxation. It will involve sin, tension and demand Christ-hoping resolution (loving rebuke and forgiveness). Too often our problem on vacation is we demand what we cannot yet have: a moment in time without sin. We'll have to wait till heaven for that. Meanwhile, let's go on vacation armed for ministry.