Q: Pastor Wilson, do you ever get to take a break? If so, what do you like to do, and where do you like to go? — Renee, from California
A: Thank you, Renee, for thinking about my physical, mental, and spiritual welfare by asking about vacation breaks. It is vital, in fact it is God’s instruction, that you try to live life with a moderate balance of work and rest.
Jesus underscored this in Mark 6:31 when He told his disciples to, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Jesus took time to go into a mountain setting just to pray alone and prepare for the hectic times around many people.
To work all the time can definitely undermine your actual productivity. With the type of office work, needed email responses, committee activities, preaching appointments and travel schedule that I have, it makes it very difficult to keep up with all that is demanded.
We have to lean on the Lord for all that is needed. Interspersed within all the appointments and activities, we must always designate quality time for Bible study, study of the Spirit of Prophecy, prayer and quiet time for reflection and planning allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our thinking.
A key to physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation is periodically taking time out from your regular activities for something different. For me, this can take various forms: blocking out certain days so that I have no appointments, reserving certain vacation periods months — even years — ahead in order to guard some time with the family and limiting appointments on certain days in order to work on some home projects.
Even if I have some time to catch up on all my emails and speaking preparations, I almost consider that to be a vacation. Nancy and I travel so much that when we are at home we actually feel like we are on vacation!
Actually, Nancy and I do specifically designate certain vacation times when we can be with the family at least two times a year, if possible. Being with the family is very important to us. We also take time out for relaxation but make time to keep up on emails. If I actually did take a complete vacation from email and administrative work, I would need another vacation just to recover from the pile-up of emails and follow-up needed!
Some of our favorite vacations involve hiking in the mountains, spending time relaxing at home with the family sitting around the fire, doing carpentry and renovation on the house or walking along a lake or beach. The biggest challenge is to actually find time to do some of those things. I do plan far ahead and try to guard certain periods of time. By God’s grace, it makes my regular work much more productive.