When you go on vacation for an extended weekend or week-long trip what do you do with the time that is normally spent serving at your home Church? Sleep in? If visiting family go to their church? Just plan Sunday as one of the vacation days to visit the amusement parks, or go straight to the beach? Whatever your vacation plans do you ever think about visiting a local church in the area you are at for vacation?
While on vacation this year the thought crossed my mind. We as a family have not taken many vacations in fact this is the first time in over three years. This vacation is a bit of a celebration of stability, financial success, and down time to enjoy the fruit of our labors. While we may have worked hard to get to this place I must pause here to recognize that God has blessed us and provided for our needs and even more.
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1 ESV
As I contemplate the idea of visiting a church local to the vacation area I start asking questions. What is the point? What will I benefit from visiting? Will I hear a sermon of such magnitude that it will change my life or give me pause? Lord, Father, seriously is this something you want from me? I dislike anything that is done simply because it is a duty. I must have a reason or I will only do it out of disgruntled obedience and that is no way to serve God. So I think about the positives for visiting a Church and see what stands out.
Here are some reasons I came up with why I should visit a church while on vacation out of town…
• I might hear a good sermon.
• Obedience to Jesus is a good thing even if I am skeptical. He does see the bigger picture after all.
• It would be good for my children as I set an example on how important church is even on vacation.
• It would only be an hour or two tops and then it will be over.
• I really think the Holy Spirit is asking that I do this in service to Him.
As I sit, think, and meditate on this idea running in my head the Holy Spirit speaks to me a fundamental truth. I am reminded what a selfish and ungrateful person I am to the blessing, power, and gifts He has given to me.
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. Romans 1:11-12 ESV
Look at the list I have written. It is a long list of what I would gain by visiting a church in the area where I am on vacation. It is a sad list and it is here that I am ashamed. It is not about me. It is about what others might benefit, it is what the church might gain. The gain is encouragement in the faith. Most Churches love visitors and are more than welcoming. What if my visit is an encouragement to them? If my family visits a church one Sunday and it is a blessing and encouragement to them to continue the work and service that they are doing for God then why should I withhold that blessing because of my own selfishness? God has called us to be one body in Christ. Why would I not make visiting other churches part of the planning process of vacations? Who knows how God might use my obedience to be a blessing others.