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Holidays and the Wide Angle Lens

October 22, 2007

Holiday ended on Saturday. Preaching followed on Sunday. Now its Monday – and after a week’s break – its good to be back. However, going away on holiday is part of what enthuses me about returning.

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Previously I’ve listed some reasons why time-outs can be so beneficial:

1. I appreciate the beauty and grandeur of God’s creation
2. I relish unhurried time in the Word and prayer
3. I enjoy healthy exercise in the fresh air
4. I spend ‘quantity-quality’ time with my wife and children
5. I slow down to savor and enjoy life
6. I remember to eat well and on time
7. I distance myself from electronic devices which tend to steal my time and sap my energy
8. I build deeper friendships through prolonged conversations
9. I face different challenges than I do every other day
10. I better remember God, the gospel and the reason I ‘do’ ministry

Though all these blessings have been enjoyed this break, reasons 1, 4 and 10 have been especially poignant:

Creation – We didn’t see anything excessively spectacular but we took in a fair amount of beautiful scenery over a seven day period. A drive north through golden Scottish countryside, a glorious walk round a nearby Reservoir, and a stroll by the sea front were enough to fill the lungs with air and the eyes and soul with beauty. Regularly I see the splendor of God’s glory in His Word and His Son; its good too when I see His glory reflected in Creation.

Family – Its great to be a dad. There’s no richer human relationship than the one I have with my wife. Just being with my family – not so much anything we did – was a precious privilege. Holidays have a way of reminding me that this little group of people are my top pastoral priority. They are also a great joy!

Ministry – Sure, we spend most of our holidays trying not to think about ministry. At another level though, we find that only on holidays can we step back far enough to take a ‘wide-angle lens’ to the subject. This holiday, I have found myself asking why do I do ministry at all? In the bustle of church life ministry can easily be reduced for me to a set of responsibilities I perform or even a treadmill to endure! Yet God has graciously reminded me (not least by reading Jonathan Edwards, A New Biography by Iain Murray) that ministry is for the glory of God, pure and simple. It is about the salvation of sinners and the sanctifying of His people for his great Name. May God use me – even in small ways – for such great ends as these!

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