A Christian Perspective on Leisure

A Christian Perspective on Leisure May 7, 2012

How do Christians take vacation? On the brink ofanother Coloradosummer, beckoning us with opportunities for camping, boating, hiking,traveling, sightseeing, and all other sorts of recreation, I thought weprobably better ask: is there a distinctly Christian approach to leisure?

There is, and it begins where the Bible begins: atcreation. For six days, God worked to bring order and fullness to His world.But once His work of creation was completed, Genesis 2:2 tells us He “rested onthe seventh day.” He wasn’t weary; the word literally means “He ceased.”

And then He does something fascinating in verse 3: “Godblessed the seventh day and made it holy.” To “make holy” means God set thisday apart as different from the other six. Holy things are unique things,things in a category by themselves. A holy day is a day unlike all the others.Days One through Six resemble each other. Each one finds God at work, creatingwith His voice and naming His creations. Each one ends with the formula “andthere was evening and there was morning, the nth day.” But the seventhday is different. It’s unique. No creating. No naming. No “evening and morning”formula. Day Seven is holy. Instead of working, God rests. He contemplates andcelebrates what He has made.

God’s rest thus affirms leisure and sanctions it for usas well. Further, we learn in the Ten Commandments that God intends this rhythmbetween work and leisure to be a binding pattern for our lives as well (Ex20:8-11). Leisure sets a boundary to acquisition or creative endeavor andallows us the space to enjoy what we, by God’s grace, have made or acquired inour work. On Day Six of the Creation week, God ordained that human beingssubdue the earth and have dominion over it; and so we work hard. But on DaySeven, He ordained that we cease from subduing and simply rest. Industriousnessis a virtue, but unlike some other virtues like honesty or love, it must bekept in balance. In other words, though we are commanded to work and work hard,it is quite possible to sin by working too much.

So, friends, enjoy your summer! Take a break. Rest. Andcelebrate God and what He has done through you in your work.