There is a strange peace about the office these days. Summer is here, the atmosphere is quiet, and things have slowed down from their usual frantic pace. Hundreds of college students have made their annual exodus from the safe and charming borders of two little towns in the sleepy northwest corner of America.
And here I sit at my desk, loving Jesus and living life. It’s a great temptation to still assume the mentality that I did when I was a student: “Now is my time to relax. Now I can waste endless days in the sun doing whatever I please, whenever I please. I’ve worked hard, I deserve it.”
But for perhaps the first time I’m viewing summer as a season of continued labor. It’s certainly a different kind of labor, but its value is no less important in pushing forward the mission of Jesus.
I love the quiet. But being productive is a challenge in the peaceful summer slump that naturally comes with warm weather and dreams of sitting in a hammock all day. It’s an adjustment to be the master of my schedule rather than allow my schedule to rule over me, as it often does the rest of the year. But of course, whether I am too busy to breathe or have more time than I know what to do with, the master of my schedule is never me. It is always Jesus.
Luke 16:10 says, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.”
Summer is an opportunity to be faithful. Even when the glamour is gone, even when no one is watching, even when it may be hard to see the immediate worth in the work that you complete. Summer is a time for work behind the scenes, a time of preparation in the quiet for the storm that lies ahead. This season is vital to the life and health of the church, even in the slowness. A quieter pace allows for more reflection, for returning to the values you once established but have since forgotten.
There is no better time to sort out priorities than in the calm of the summer. Where in your spiritual life do you most need to grow? What aspects of God's character do you desire to understand better? Who should you pour your life and time into that you don’t have time for when things are busy? What things in your heart and in your life are standing in the way of a closer relationship with Christ? What is your vision for your education, for your job, for your life? Are your priorities a reflection of that?
Summer is a gift. Rest is a gift. Time is a gift. But it must not be misused. There must be purpose in our rest. Rejuvenation and reflection prevents burnout down the road, when it is easy to be overwhelmed by details and deadlines and forget the big picture. Use summer to let the Lord speak to you in ways that you are usually too preoccupied to hear.
The book of Ecclesiastes speaks of the labor of man and its purpose.
“Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20)
Most of all, we are to enjoy the work that we have before us now, and prepare for what is ahead, to the glory of God. Even if it looks a little different for now, even if you have more time to relax and recuperate from long seasons of ceaseless work.
Summer remains a time to worship as God commands in Paul’s letter to the church of Colossae. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”