There are times during the day when we need a snack. Maybe we skipped a meal, or maybe we just need a little pick-me-up. So, we scour the food pantries and scavenge through our desk drawers. Fueled by our hunger, we look for something to silence the quiet grumblings of our stomach and satisfy the cravings of our taste buds. What is your go to snack? A granola bar? A banana? A cup of yogurt? Do you prefer salty or sweet? All things being equal (which sadly they are not), I would grab a cookie or candy bar every time the pangs of food deprivation hit me. If only ice cream cones and peanut M&M’s were just as healthy as baby carrots or celery sticks. But we know better. Unfortunately, the junk food that is most appealing is also the stuff with the least amount of nutritional value.
[ree-kal-uh-breyt] verb (used with or without object): 1. to correct or adjust the gradations or settings on (a measuring instrument, sensor, or other piece of precision equipment). 2. to reexamine (one’s thinking, a plan, a system of values, etc.) and correct it in accord with a new understanding or purpose.
Recalibrate. This is the word that’s been on my mind these past couple of weeks. In Luke 10:38-42 we encounter the familiar story of Martha and Mary. Jesus and his band of disciples show up for a surprise visit. Can you imagine? This was not a shared Google calendar event and there was no text message to provide a heads-up of their pending arrival. Facebook events were not a thing back then, so no way for this traveling teacher to RSVP. No warning at all. Just a knock on the door and suddenly Martha had a house full of at least a dozen guests. Martha gets to work “preparing the house”—cleaning, searching for bedding, and making food. These are all good, hospitable things. You and I would have acted similarly if we were in her shoes (or sandals). But not so with the one she probably thought she could rely on the most. Her sister, Mary, simply sits down and listens to Jesus. Are you kidding me? What a lazy bum! Get off your butt and get to work! At least, that was Martha’s initial and understandable reaction. Truthfully, it would have been mine too. Fortunately, she took a better approach than giving her slacking sibling a piece of her mind. An exasperated and frustrated Martha comes to Jesus and says, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Here’s what I’m thinking about doing. As the summer months kickoff, I’m thinking about telling my wife that I am going to take the summer off from her and the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I obviously still love her and the kids too. They are still really, really important to me. Honest! It’s just that there are some other things I want to get done this summer also—and sometimes they cramp my style. Places I want to visit and things I want to do; having a family can just slow me down from checking things off of my bucket list. Don’t worry. I will reassure her that I’ll see her again in three months. Plus if there is some sort of major emergency, I will probably check in with her for an hour or so. I may even make an exception for a week or two in August so we can do some sort of obligatory family vacation. But other than that, it’s “Sayonara baby!” Think about it... for the next three months I’m not going to waste any of my resources—time or attention, energy or money on my family. Just three glorious months of no one to make happy but me. No more coming home, spending time with family. No more cleaning. No more dishes. No more laundry. No more conversations. No chauffeuring kids to games or piano lessons. I am going to spend 92 straight days doing whatever I want, whenever I want.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Of course it does. This is not really going happen. I would never do such a thing; and my wife would not let me. 😉 Even the suggestion of taking a summer off from your family sounds neglectful and absurd. Which wife in her right mind would tolerate a husband living in selfish solitude golfing and fishing the summer away without her? Yet the irony here is how easy it is to take the summer off from God. Seriously! Sure we may not see it that way, nor do we always do it intentionally, but the summer months often lend themselves to a less than consistent worship schedule. As our summer schedules fill up we can find ourselves tripped up by Satan and slacking in our “remember the Sabbath” duties. Vacations and trips to the lakes or down to the Jersey shore are the norm during the summer—but that doesn’t mean our worship habits should take a back seat.
God will understand you taking a well-deserved vacation. He told you to “rest” on the Sabbath, as He knows you need a change of pace in order to recharge your batteries. Exodus 20:8-10 says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” God didn’t tell you to ignore worshipping Him for months at a time, but instead, find ways of worshipping him as you take a break from the busyness of your daily life. Maintain God as a priority in your life, not just when it is convenient. So on Sundays over the summer whether you’re in town or somewhere else—go to church. Be immersed in His story. Seek out a place to worship God and be fed by the holy goods that only He can give. Worship is the place where God promises to meet us and give us His life-giving, forgiveness-granting goods. Church is the place where God gospelizes and graces His people.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrew 10:23-25