Tuesday’s link of the day: ”I’ll tell you what a tragedy is.”

I just realized that yesterday’s link featured some comments by Noel Piper. Well, today’s post is a reaction to writing by her husband John Piper. It is called John Piper ruined my vacation. It really made me think– what about you?

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  1. I thought it was very interesting-but I think it is about keeping our eyes fixed on Christ and not getting too bogged down in any sort of man-made “rules” of acceptable Christian conduct. I think that it is tragic when we think all there is to life is to put our time in at the office and then loaf out the rest of our years, but I think it is equally tragic to condemn taking vacations and just refreshing the spirit. God created the earth for enjoyment and there is much Biblical evidence of the need for rest and living life to the full (case in point:the land flowing with milk and honey and also John 10:10). We cannot say that relaxing on the beach after hard work is wrong any more than we can say ONLY doing that is right, does that make sense? We can get just as legalistic in pointing out, as one commenter on that site did, that “we have not taken a vacation in 3 years and spent all our vacation time on the mission field”-that just becomes a source of pride and idolatry just as much as anything else, it is just wrapped in pretty “Christian” paper. Jesus found time to get away and rest with His disciples, using this time to reconnect with the Father and His purposes for His time on earth-and also did not heal everyone on earth while he was here. We cannot expect to be more than God himself was in the flesh and to try to do so is pretty arrogant, I think. I think we MUST use our time and resources towards God’s glory, without a doubt, but that we cannot make it a one size fits all formula of how that is done. That is a slippery slope to trod upon when we start saying vacations are wrong or spending money on a vehicle is a sin-it is fodder for guilt and deception from the evil one just as much as having the wealth and vacation homes can be. That is my 2 (or maybe 50??) cents on the subject-it is thought provoking, to be sure! Thanks for the link!

  2. OK obviously your’e going to make us think…. I thought that was a great word picture. If you watch people you will see that they don’t change dramatically at retirement. If they shared Christ with the lost before they usually continue to do so. If they live for self in their youth they live for self in their old age.

  3. I’ve been to Sanibel. Perhaps this is driving my comment, but I should not have to feel guilty in taking a vacation. Or stopping to pick up the seashells. I have felt very close to God in reveling in the beauty of this great earth. Sanibel, trust, is a great beauty. I’ve also met very wonderful older couples living out their days in Sanibel, doing good in this world in their own way. Just because they didn’t hear a calling to go to Cameroon doesn’t mean what they are doing is a tragedy. But perhaps I like to think living biblically, doing God’s work, and being the best person you can possibly be is a little less complicated than that.

    Sorry. Sure I’ve thought. But I’m not going to feel guilty when I’m on Sanibel in June.

  4. I think what Piper calls “tragedy” is NOT the enjoyment of any one particular event in our lives, such as a nice vacation, but a pervasive mindset and lifestyle of pursuing one’s own comfort, pleasure and ease as a final goal. Let’s not be defensive about our own specific “indulgences”, but rather examine ourselves to see if those pleasures are driving our life or are simply received as the gracious gift from God that they are.

    Thank you for mentioning this insightful post.

  5. I loved Dr. Mary’s comment. . . sure, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with picking up seashells. . .it’s just that serving the truly needy is “so much more fun,” as she puts it. I think that puts it in perspective. I don’t think we need to view things like vacations as evil, per se, but when we taste of the things that will truly bring us joy, somehow a retirement on the beach pales in comparison. Like the old hymn says, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim.”

  6. I could be retired now enjoying grand kids! But God has called me to adopt and now I’m 55 and have a 10 year old at home. I hope I live long enough to see all my kids walking in the Lord and grown up.

    Wishing for a trip to the beach.

  7. Thanks for the link. I’ve been wanting to read Piper’s book “Dont Waste Your Life”. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a good vacation now and then I think he’s right on when our life goals are not in line with God’s calling in our life…whether we’re 68 or 18. It’s alot easier to go our own way, do our own thing and we might even be happy. But we can be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” when we are obedient to His work in our lives. And what joy that will bring too!

  8. I agree that it’s all about the focus, not the simple act of picking up shells. Obviously God intends for us to marvel at the beauty of His creation, and shells are no exception!

    I think Jennifer (above) said it best, though. So I’ll leave it at that!

  9. What a great post. I agree, it is a TRAGEDY that so many people can’t look beyond their own well-being. There is far too much watching-out-for-oneself, and far too little caring for others in this world. That said… I need a vacation. Badly. But, I’ll take a working one… 🙂

  10. Just had to add that like some of you I also have a love affair with the ocean


    But like anything in life, it is important to find the right balance. I guess that is part of the reason I found the above to be so thought-provoking.


  11. Thanks—what a great article!
    And I have to giggle at all of the people (including the first poster on your blog, as well as the first poster at the original article) who have to so quickly defend their Sanibel vacations/shell collecting/materialism/what have you.

    Look, we are all sinful creatures, and even the people who spend every vacation doing missions & ministry are sinners in some other way. They perhaps have just been given a gift for missions or a gift of generosity or something else and maybe they lack the “thorn” of materialism/love of creature comforts that some of us suffer from.

    So be it.

    But I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful article, and will think about it for a long time to come.

    One of my favorite quotes comes to mind:
    “‘Tis only one life
    ‘Twill soon be past,
    And only what’s done
    for Christ, will last.”

    So, yes, let’s enjoy our vacations, let’s enjoy the beautiful creation God has provided us; but when we meet Him face to face, I doubt we’ll hear much about how glad He is that we took time to smell the roses; we’ll probably hear a lot more about how glad He is we took time to care for His beloved people.

  12. Sorry Jody—I appreciated your comment very much—-Upon re-reading it, I realize it was not THE “first comment” I was talking about….just one among the first comments …

  13. Thank you so much for sharing that. Our pastor has used similar illustrations – we need to be reminded that our choices on earth have eternal consequences. I’m always inspired by people who use their “golden years” to serve the Lord (as opposed to golfing every day). There’s certainly nothing inherently wrong with hobbies & recreation. But when that becomes the primary goal – – how sad. And it certainly applies to all of us in every season of our lives – not just retirees. ;o) The ways in which we use our time/talents/treasure truly reflects where our values lie.

    Incidentally, I lived on Sanibel Island for three years – I was so blessed to be surrounded by the beauty! But that’s neither here nor there. ;o)

  14. I think it’s important to remember that the “heart” of the issue is not the vacations, or the retirement, or the hobbies — it’s the personal OBEDIENCE. What if we were all so attuned to the leading of the Holy Spirit that we heeded his every direction. That we were walking in the specific thing that God has us to do — in EVERY area of our lives. What would that look like? Some of us may be called to be corporate tycoons, some us shoe-shine men/women. Isn’t that the thing — discerning how God wants us to serve? It is certainly important to regularly examine how we are spending our time and energy — is it fruitful, does it fall into line with what God would have us to do? But just as often we have to be careful about how we “judge” what others are doing. Maybe God called Frank and Francine to move to Florida so that they can be a shining light to a golf buddy, or be a shoulder to lean on for their new neighbor. God isn’t necessarily going to make it clear to you what He’s working out in SOMEONE else’s life. While we all need to do a gut check about how we are spending our lives — it has to do with our specific plan, place, and purpose…’cause your mission field may be in your own backyard. What a well-oiled Body Of Christ we’d be if we were all walking in our own calling. Just a few thoughts