With eager library cards, loaded hiking backpacks, swim toys, and s’mores fixin’s, children everywhere are excited for summer. Sleeping in, more relaxed days, and perhaps family reunions and weddings replace hectic weeks of homework, sports practices, and structured routines. But is summer really the best time to “slack off” as a student? Perhaps it’s time to cut back on the math facts practice, the essay writing, and the studying for a science test. But is it time to cut back on being a student of God’s Word? Moms across the world would unite to say “NO WAY!”
Let’s take a look at 5 simple ways one may unknowingly decrease their Bible knowledge during these summer months.
1. VACATION TAKES PRECEDENCE OVER WORSHIP
The summer weeks lend themselves to many reasons to travel with more flexible schedules. Families meticulously plan road trips, weekend getaways, or a week of carefree living. Even Jesus took time to rest and told others to rest (Mark 4:35-40, Mark 6:30-32), so we know that some time away is good for the body, mind, and soul. However, when the vacation also means a vacation from assembling with the saints, there is a heart disconnect that needs to be resolved. Let us not fall into the lazy attitude of “we will get an early start on the road and just worship at the evening service” (when our destination is reached). The Lord deserves our very best attention.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” -Mark 12:30 (NASB)
Just think of the blessing you are missing out on when you choose not to assemble with Christians in another city! Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” The congregation you visit will be so blessed and encouraged to see your faithfulness, but more importantly, your Father in Heaven will be pleased with your priorities.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” -Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
Do yourself a favor. Take the time to schedule your itinerary around Bible classes and worship, not the other way around. His church is worldwide, and we are here to work together in our journey towards Heaven.
2. HOMEWORK BREAK LEADS TO BIBLE CLASS HOMEWORK BREAK
“But I don’t feel like any more bookwork.” This feeling is quite understandable. While many children crave continued reading or studying, and some may even be finishing work from the previous school year, most kids do want (and deserve) a break from rigorous paperwork. Nevertheless, our free time should still include memory work and any work that needs to be done for Bible classes. Have you discussed what needs to be completed or read with your child or his/her teacher? Do you know what needs to be accomplished by the next class to fully grasp the concepts and truths covered in the class? Set boundaries for your family. Long hours of outside play, lemonade stands, park time, and exploring is what makes summer so fun. But more importantly, we need to weave in consistent time in the Scriptures to keep our days focused on Him.
John 8:2 says, “Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.”
Just think about how many precious gems people missed by sleeping in! Many faithful followers of God rose up “early in the morning” to do as God commanded (Genesis 19:27, Exodus 8:20, 24:4, 34:4, Joshua 6:12, 1 Samuel 1:19, etc). A senior saint in my congregation once talked about her children going out on Saturday night. They were never allowed to continue with any weekend plans until their Bible class lesson had been completed. She did not allow herself to read the daily newspaper until her daily Bible reading had been completed. Whereas today it may be social media on a phone instead of a newspaper, distractions have been and always will be around us begging us to take our eyes off of Jesus. Let us bring back the outlook of “Get in the Word before you get in the World.”
Be consistent in your own studies so your children will see your example and want to be prepared and eager Bible class students. Be creative! Work on memory verses or Bible drills while you are building that sand castle, driving to the play-date, or wading in the kiddie pool. If your child has reading and questions to do before the next Bible class, use your afternoon “rest time” to remind them of their Bible class work. If they have friends over for the evening or a sleepover, use the class material and have the friend listen and learn with you as you work with your child. If you have teens who are independent in their Bible class work, encourage them to set a reminder on their phone at a certain time each day to dig a little in the Word so it doesn’t get pushed to the back of the agenda until Saturday night. Remember not to slack off on Bible class work while you take a break from academics this summer. If you do, how then can you be surprised when youth leave the narrow path?
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” -2 Timothy 2:15
3. LACK OF EFFORT FOR THE EXTRAS
Summer brings many new and exciting adventures in the community and in the church. There are a plethora of opportunities for spiritual growth as a family, as well as for children with other children. Do your kids see you seeking to support area congregations’ Vacation Bible Schools, Summer Series, or Youth Nights? Only you as the parent can decide on the healthy balance of time as a family and time assembling with other Christians for fellowship and study. Nonetheless, do not let the summer go by without attending at least one other congregation within driving distance for a special event or special speaker. Today, many congregations are even live-streaming their services and their special events. When too many miles separate you from an event, tune in online for your family’s benefit!
We must stop looking at other worship times or special meetings as one more thing to do and view them as vital stepping stones on the path towards eternity. New relationships may be formed that will sustain your children through hard times. New topics may be taught by a different speaker that will “click” for your child. You may find other like-minded families to build new friendships with while you study and learn together. Valuable insights from edification in locations besides your home congregation can virtually get you over the slump, over the valley, and rise back up again stronger than ever!
“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk to them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” -Deuteronomy 6:7
4. SUMMER SUN, SUMMER SKIN
You may be thinking what does modesty have to do with decreasing my Bible knowledge? It matters, and it contributes to spiritual apathy. Lack of modesty in both dress and behavior is a heart issue. Heart issues are diseases of the soul that need our attention. When we fail to honor God with our bodies as living sacrifices in every season of the year, we are showing the world that we are trying to fit in with them, not stand out as being different for the Lord.
1 Peter 2:9 (KJV) reads, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
5. FORGETFUL FAMILIES
The last way we can contribute to a loss of biblical knowledge and spiritual growth is by letting the summer go by being forgetful in all the festivities. Forgetting to use the neighborhood barbecue as an avenue for evangelism. Forgetting to show hospitality to the traveling speakers who are visiting your congregation. Forgetting to spend time in His word preparing for the devotional your family is hosting and settling for recycling a lesson used before or taking someone else’s lesson and delivering that instead. Forgetting to support the congregation in their efforts to reach out into the community. Other people will pass those flyers out anyway, right?
“Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise.” -Proverbs 6:6.
The next time you see an ant on the summer picnic table, think about how he is preparing for the winter. He is planning, thinking, observing, and working hard to be ready. Use your summer to be ready! His coming could happen at any season, any day, any hour! Let’s not be like the ten foolish virgins who were not ready when the bridegroom came:
“And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.” -Matthew 25:10-13
Summer break— A Christian is never really “on break.” Let us stand guard, watch for areas of weakness where we can grow, and build lasting memories with our family not only in the great outdoors, but in our hearts. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world (or every summer bucket list item accomplished), and forfeit his soul?”
Make the memories and play in the sun. Just take the Son with you wherever you go.