Summer is just around the corner, and we’re all glad. As a dad and husband, I love summer.
But as a pastor, I hate summer sometimes, too.
This time of year seems to bring increasing excitement over sun, outdoor activities, and longer days to enjoy those activities, but often we’ve decided to fill our summer “break” to the full. Extra sun typically means extra stress from extra activities.
I have heard so many people say things like, “I was reading my Bible and praying consistently until summer, and then things just got too busy.” Most churches experience less attendance, less excitement, and less generosity during June, July, and August.
I’m not against summer. I love playing outside with my kids. I love walking by the lake with my wife, talking about life together in a light breeze on a sunny day. I love the power of thunderstorms, where God shows off by lighting up a completely dark sky.
But my prayer is that a busy summer would not crowd out our intimacy with Christ and his church. How can we avoid a spiritual regression in the summer months? Here are two suggestions to make this summer a time to dive deeply in the word, in prayer, and with our church family.
Summer Says Something About God’s Word
Psalm 19 tells us we should delight in the beauty of God’s creation, and summer often provides unique opportunities to do that more fully with more daylight.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. (Psalm 19:1–2)
But Psalm 19 doesn’t stop with creation — the blue sky, the green grass, the warmth of the sun on our faces — rather, the beauty David sees in God’s creation moves him to celebrate the stunning power and beauty of God’s word.
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7)
We don’t set aside the word of God to enjoy the work of God in creation. Our souls still need reviving in the summer. Our simple hearts still need God’s wisdom found in God’s word. So, how should we balance our busyness and still find time to enjoy God through his creation and his word?
1. Beware of busyness.
Consider how busy you really want to make your summer “break.” Yes, it’s good to stay busy, be productive, and make the most of the time, but don’t overload. Instead, be creative about ways to prioritize your walk with the Lord, as well as ways to spend time with family and friends enjoying God’s creation and each other together.
Do things you normally couldn’t do, but also be okay doing “nothing” together in ways you can’t with the “go, go, go” of a typical school year. Emphasize quality over quantity, and prioritize rest. The most important thing we can do for our families is show them that Jesus is still on the throne of our hearts, even when it gets to be short-sleeve weather.
2. Make more time for God.
Follow Martin Luther’s advice: “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” The busier we are, the more dependent we should be on the Lord, because our hearts are more likely to be distracted and prone to wander. Don’t give up your Bible reading and prayer; double down. Dive into it all the more. Don’t give up gathering together with God’s family; make it an even higher priority.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24–25)
We need God’s word and we need each other every week and every month, all year.