Our theme for this month: “Take care of your body”
Our Bible verse for today: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me besides quiet waters, he restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “How leisurely is your leisure time?
I’ve always enjoyed hiking. As a child our family home bordered a thick patch of woods. There were trails to follow, trees to climb, secret hide-a-ways, and lots of adventure. I spent many hours in those woods enjoying the peace and quiet and soaking in nature. I felt like I could encounter God in the beauty and quietness of His creation.
All throughout my adult years I have also enjoyed hiking. Sometimes it was long walks on the beaches of southern California; other times I have hiked the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee; several times I have been in the Andes Mountains of Peru and hiked the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.
Today I live in a beautiful community in eastern Tennessee that is laced with great hiking trails, many of which are just minutes from my home. Most of those trails cut through deep woods and lead you to foot bridges over rushing creeks, great mountaintop views, and encounters with various kinds of wildlife. Being out there is soothing and relaxing, but it is also good exercise, and it can be a great time with God. It is Psalm 23:1-3 experienced in real life.
And I need it. Like many of you, I work too hard, worry too much, and don’t rest enough.
In his book, “The Christian at Play”, author Robert Johnston asks, “How leisurely is your leisure time?” He then quotes researcher Gordon Dahl, “In truth, for millions of Americans – hard-working Americans – leisure has come to mean little more than an ever more furious orgy of consumption. Whatever energies are left after working are spent in pursuing pleasure with the help of an endless array of goods and services. This is “virtuous materialism” par excellence. It offers men the choice of either working themselves to death or consuming themselves to death – or both.”
So, how leisurely is your leisure? Really, how restful is it? When you rest and relax are you really resting and relaxing? Psalm 23:1-3 describes getting away from it all so that we really are resting, relaxing, and renewing. Filling all of our leisure time with noise and activities and mindless entertainment often isn’t really all that leisurely.
As we approach the weekend I encourage you to consider planning some time to truly rest, relax, and reflect. Movies, parties, family activities, sporting events, and activities like that all have their place and are all good in some respects, but true relaxing and renewal occurs in the quiet times.