TGIS. Thank God it’s Summer! I think we can all agree that we are very grateful summer is finally here. Many are out of school, graduating, getting some well-deserved rest, etc. However, with all the free time we get, we can also get more free time to waste.
In America we are heavily distracted with numerous things. Sam Storms once said, “Every day we wake up to a battle for the allegiance and affections of our hearts.”The hard part is that most of these things that distract us are generally neutral but can become exceedingly numbing and dangerous.
We are given this free time during summer and tend to just flock towards filling that time with events focused on ourselves. Now don’t hear me say that I think it is evil or selfish to plan events in order to escape the mundane routine we are use to, or that it is ungodly to saturate our summer with events, friendships, and get-togethers. There is definitely a time and place for all of these. I am proposing this though; could we possibly find a better balance? Is it possible that instead of taking advantage of our summer, we waste it with fun but eternally meaningless events?
C.T. Studd once said, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” I am convinced we could unknowingly waste our summers if we are not careful. My definition of “wasting your summer” would be to spend it primarily feeding your own wants and desires without any impact on others eternal future or relationship with Christ; this also includes our own relationship with Christ. I agree that this may be a narrow view of how we should spend our time. But then again, if you are a Christian, we have never been called to a broad road but instead a narrow one. Adopting an eternal mindset absolutely revolutionizes how one lives.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “”If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” This summer we could make a substantial impact but we must be intentional about it. Below I have listed five suggestions that could help some of us take advantage of the additional time we get this summer.
Many times what we need is not more things to fill our time but less. We need time alone to think over the last year, our current decisions, and direction. Time alone to pray. Time alone to meditate. Most importantly, time alone to allow God to speak to you. I find that we constantly beg God to reveal His will for our life but never give a measly second of silence to even let Him speak. We expect Him to work in our timing and for anyone that has been in this deal for a while knows this; God doesn’t work that way.
Find one thing that benefits someone outside of yourself and pour everything you have into it. What is your passion? What do you like to do? Is there a way your passions, gifts, talents, or resources could help another individual or people group?
MENTOR AND DISCIPLE
Find someone younger than you that looks up to you in some way and take him/her under your wing. This generation is in desperate need of positive and encouraging role models. If you think you are not equipped for this or you have no wisdom/advice to give I promise you that you are and you do. Let me give you a secret. The majority of the younger generation does not need a confident and cool leader to be mentored by. Nine times out of ten they just need someone to listen. They just need someone to notice and recognize them. Honestly, they just need someone that cares. It is disheartening how many younger individuals walk by us daily that are under the impression that no one whatsoever cares about them.
START A MISSIONAL COMMUNITY
Do you have a home that everyone considers their second home? When people want to do something do they call you to find out what is going on? If so, you could make one legit missional community. Be intentional this summer with your relationships. Intentionally set up events where people get to enter into the group you love so dearly. Purposely invite people into your community and train your friends to get outside of their comfort zones and meet the new people. God will handle the rest. Remember, you live where you live and when you live for God’s glory. God providentially placed you in your community with the people around you so that you may be an avenue to Him. Far too often Christianity is so unbelievably boring because we forget this. We become inward focused and forget that we are daily on mission. Acts 17:26 says, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.” Here is a great video for what a missional community looks like. http://ow.ly/59YyK
READ THE BIBLE
This may sound like a gimme but it isn’t. Countless times I have thought, “If only I had more time and wasn’t so rushed and busy, I would dedicate this time to get in the Word.” Then the free time comes and I just dedicate longer amounts of time into the very things that were making me busy in the first place. No matter how much we understand our need to be in God’s Word, it doesn’t come naturally without discipline. Similar to working out and eating healthy, you have to make a plan. It is not an overnight decision. Although we know what the right thing to do is, our natural desires do not bend towards what we need but towards what we want. The things we need to do in life are usually the hardest things to do and the things we find ourselves doing the most are usually those things that are very easy. Beware of letting good things get in the way of great things.
Below I have listed a few resolutions given by Jonathan Edwards that could shed some light on the topic of how we spend our time.
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
30. Resolved, To strive every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.
40. Resolved, To inquire every night before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking.
41. Resolved, to ask myself, at the end of every day, week, month, and year, wherein I could possibly, in any respect, have done better.
56. Resolved, Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.