Summer officially begins next week, but here in Southeast Georgia it is safe to say that we are already there. The temperature, humidity and thunderstorms are all present and accounted for, and the many activities of summer have begun.
In our church, we have finished vacation Bible school, our students are away at camp, children’s camps will soon be upon us, and I’m hearing the same refrain over and over. "We won’t be there this Sunday, pastor. We’re going to the (lake, beach, mountains — you fill in the blank) for the week."
Our Sunday school and worship attendance goes down this time every year in what we commonly call "the summer slump." I used to fret over this phenomenon, wondering what I could do differently to ensure that attendance stayed strong in June and July.
I don’t have those same worries today. After all, in a few weeks my wife and I will be headed to the mountains of North Georgia for seven days of "R & R" ourselves. We will hike to some of our favorite waterfalls, sit by the pool and read, eat at a couple of our favorite restaurants, and I will engage in a round or two of mountain golf.
The truth is we all need time away. We all need breaks. God knows that.
If you will remember, he planned for us to take one day a week for rest and worship. He set the example for us by creating in six days, and resting on the seventh. God does not need to rest. But he knows that we do, and so he both told us and showed us what to do.
We need a day each week to relax. But we need as well to gather with other believers in worship. We need not be legalistic by having a list of activities from which we must refrain on this day. But we need to take the time to step away from the regular and persistent chores of life so that we might experience the presence of God each week in a new and powerful manner.
I encourage you to protect this day for worship. Enjoy the Lord and all he has done for you. You will accomplish more in the other six days if you keep the Lord’s command to, "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy."