Here we continue our discussion of five ways we can glorify God when on holidays. You can find the first post, including the first three points here.
To recap, We have looked at how be intentional in glorifying God on holidays through:
1. Time spent enjoying God’s creation
2. Time spent reflecting, and
3. Time spent resting.
We coninue with:
4. Time spent in communion with the Lord
Whether your dream escape is a week on the beach with nothing to do, an adrenaline-packed outdoor adventure, or exploring big cities finding the best coffee and museums – holidays have down time. This could involve the hours spent on planes or buses (or waiting at the airport…), sitting down after setting up camp after a day spent hiking, or those endless afternoons by the pool. The nature of holidays is that they are different from your day-to-day life, in which family, work or study consume large portions of your time; on holidays, your time is yours to commit to whatever you choose. For this reason, one of the things I get most excited about when going on holiday is the time I have to spend with God. I can read the Bible, pray and have the time to read books that aid my walk with God that I wouldn’t have as much time to when at home.
Now of course this isn’t always easy. We once went on a cruise where we had heaps of luggage allowance, and spent our days on the ship sitting in the lounge with unlimited free drinks, Bible and commentaries in hand. There were few logistical barriers for us spending time with God in that circumstance. But that is quite different to a 12 weeks backpacking holiday where you want to carry as limited luggage as possible, and every flight is overnight at the end of a long day, and the last thing you feel like doing it reading.
For our upcoming trip, on our budget flights out of Australia, luggage was expensive, so we have only 15kg each. And many of our flights are long and overnight, and we experience 6 different time zone changes throughout our trip, so we will be tired a lot. Therefore, we have had to be creative in the way we prepare for our opportunities to read and grow and spend time with God when we are away.
What we have found useful so far is:
1. Set aside intentional rest periods – No plans, just time to spend reading and discussing, so we don’t feel the pressure to fit this around our full itinerary. You could even plan in an hour at a nice cafe or the local park to spend reading and praying at.
2. Invest in some Christian audiobooks – This is my new favourite thing! We signed up to audible, and have bought some great books to listen to, and which will be perfect for tired plane trips when your brain isn’t up to reading, or for car/bus/train trips together.
3. Photograph your paper devotional or get a devotional app – Books are heavy, if you have a daily devotional you are using, reading one page a day on your phone isn’t too bad. Otherwise you can use an app (such as this one).
4. Take a book you read alongside the Bible and use a Bible app – I am still trying to find a way to fit my Bible in my luggage, but unfortunately my Bible is quite heavy. But I know that I struggle to read my Bible app like I do my real Bible; it’s convenience can become an excuse in not reading it because ‘I could read it whenever I want’. My favourite books are these God’s Word for You books – they guide your reading with great exegesis, explanation and application. One of these alongside your Bible app is a great way to go (and is lighter than a Bible)! And as a bonus, you can also get some of these on audible.
5. Take your Bible anyway – If you are struggling to read your Bible, maybe taking it with you is the motivation you need. Knowing you have taken up that space and weight might make you more motivated to make sure you use it – with the prayer that you do so joyfully and can delight in God’s word.
5. Time Spent Serving
Now this point seems to stick out like a sore thumb. “I thought I was going on holiday to have a break from working” I hear you proclaim. Well the truth is, when on holiday, we don’t have a break from being a Christian. We are not called to stop loving others as part of our resting. And so when we are on holidays, we are still called to serve others and to serve God, just as we are in our day-to-day lives – and this can actually be such a joyful part of travelling.
Of course when on holiday, you may need to be more creative than normal in the ways you serve. You are not at your usual home church, often not surrounded by people you know, and it is hard to have people over for dinner or babysit or cook meals for people. But you if you are travelling with others or visiting friends whilst you travel, it is a great opportunity to love and serve these people, whether by planning parts of the itinerary, cooking for people or shouting drinks or dinner; there are still many ways you can be intentional in serving others.
You will also most likely come into contact with people you don’t know in your travels, and have the opportunity to serve them in one way or another as well. We have recently been thinking about the culture of tipping in the USA, and coming from a country that pays their staff properly, we think the concept is completely ridiculous (and rather frustrating). But we have been challenged that maybe this is an opportunity to faithfully serve others, to be joyful in the opportunity to be generous to people we don’t know, for the sake of God’s glory.
More often than not, being unable to see a way to serve those around us is not because there is no way to serve them, but because we aren’t looking.
I hope and pray that these few ideas might be of encouragement or challenge to you, for whenever your next holiday may be.