I remember taking a team of volunteers to Panama one summer to do some building, repairs, and conduct children’s ministry. They had worked hard from before sunup to after sunset for days. They were amazing.
As I always did when taking groups on mission trips, I planned a day at the end of the trip for celebration, fun and sight-seeing. On this particular occasion we were sitting on the outside deck of a nice restaurant looking out over the Pacific Ocean and in the distance was the beautiful skyline of Panama City. Boats were docked only a few feet from where we were sitting and there was a nice breeze blowing and the gentle sound of waves lapping up on the shore nearby. And of all things…
…the team was feeling a little guilty.
That’s right, guilty.
They were having trouble enjoying the experience because they felt like “God’s mission work” was supposed to be hard and full of sacrifices, not fun and pleasurable moments to enjoy oneself.
They were partly right. We should serve the Lord with all our heart, leveraging every minute to do something to honor God. But we must never forget that God has woven into the fabric of life moments of extravagant joy, peace, fulfillment and beauty and to intentionally enjoy His good gifts is to also honor and serve Him.
Temperance is one of the by-products (fruits) of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Christian life is a life of balance. After the work comes play, after the fasting comes feasting, after the drudgery comes dancing, and after the sacrifice comes celebration.
The ONE THING for today: Some people see the Christian faith as the place where fun goes to die. No! A thousand times no. God is an extravagant creator, rewarder and desire fulfiller. Work hard this week, but don’t miss your Father’s party invitations either.