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How to Vacation with Jesus

Chances are, you are going, or have already gone, on a vacation this summer. Maybe you took a day trip to a state park; maybe you’re flying to Europe for two weeks. Whatever you have planned or have already done, vacations are part of life. This is by God’s design—God rested on the seventh day of creation (Genesis 2:2), God commanded the Israelites to rest one day out of every week (Exodus 20:9–11), and God told his Old Testament people to keep three week-long feasts (Passover, Pentecost, and Booths). God set a pattern for all people to find rest in the midst of the work and toil of this world.

But we shouldn’t go it alone. Our vacations—and in reality, every day of our lives—are chances for us to draw closer to God as well. This is His intention for our rest, that it would be a time to celebrate His love and presence in our lives. Vacations present a unique opportunity for us to get away from the normal, routine busyness that builds up in day-to-day life. As you plan vacations, days off, or days away, consider how to invite Jesus along with you.

Tips to help you vacation with Jesus:

  • Bring your Bible. This one seems pretty simple, and technology makes it even easier. If you have a smartphone with an internet connection, you have access to hundreds of different Bible translations, Bible studies, and sermons. Nothing compares to your Bible, though. Bring your Bible along. If you don’t have one, buy one. It is still the most popular book in print, and it has the power to change you. I see evidence of this in my great-grandfather’s Bible. The words he has underlined and the broken binding reminds me of his faithfulness and how he put his Bible to use. Jesus won’t mind if you crease the cover of your Bible in your suitcase.
  • Schedule spiritual time. You schedule a lot on vacation. Add spiritual time to your calendar. How else will you guarantee that it happens? You may have good intentions. You can bring your Bible, an inspirational book, and a journal, but if you don’t schedule the time, it will likely not happen. There are way too many things to do that will crowd out your time with Jesus.
  • Prioritize prayer. Maybe you are used to praying every morning before work, but on vacation you sleep in. Or maybe it’s before you go to bed, but now you are staying up late around a campfire. Prioritize a time to pray. Pray before meals. Pray before you leave for the day with your vacationing partners. Make it a priority. You are probably with people you love deeply—what is more intimate and personal and loving than praying with these people? It might feel awkward to suggest praying on vacation, but you—and your whole family—will be glad you did.
  • Find a time to serve others. Generally, our vacations and our time away can be self-serving. That is fine. You work hard; you have the right to relax too. Jesus said that He came to give us peace and rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28–30). So, if Jesus is coming along to give us peace and rest, is there a way that we can accompany Him to do the same? You’re already looking up the best restaurants, hotels, and entertainment. Try searching “food pantry,” “homeless shelter,” or “volunteer opportunities” as well. It might be the most memorable thing you do.
  • Worship at a local church. Yes, you have your home church, and nothing will replace that. But it is always good to be reminded that Jesus loves the whole world and there are Christians all across the planet. You can use this tool to find a local LCMS church.

Jesus is with us always and everywhere, even when we go on vacations. Practicing these things will help you know and feel that. No matter where you go, don’t forget to invite Jesus along!


Need a suggestion on a book you might take on your next vacation? Check out some of our new releases.

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Written by

Ethan Luhman

Ethan Luhman is a pastor in New York, husband of Sherry, and father of three crazy and wonderful boys.

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