THE CHRISTIAN’S USE OF LEISURE TIME
Notes used at a Young People’s Meeting
1. Biblical Principles.
a. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.
Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 1. 1 Cor. 10.31.
b. Redeeming the time because the days are evil. Eph. 5.
15-16. Col. 4.5.
c. Our time is not our own. Ps. 31.15. “Ye are not your own”.
1 Cor. 6.19-20.
d. There is a suitable time for everything in life. Eccl. 3.
2. Does the Bible say anything about leisure?
The dictionary defines leisure as ‘time at one’s own disposal’. In that case the Christian has no leisure time because his time is at God’s disposal!
a. A warning from David’s life. 2 Sam. 11.2.
b. Wasting time and talents. Matt. 25.26.
c. We have physical, mental, and emotional needs.
God gives sleep. Ps. 127.2. Eccl. 5.12. But laziness is a sin.
Sleep strengthens and refreshes for further labour.
God rested. Heb. 4.4.
Jesus encouraged His disciples to rest awhile. Mark 6.31.
Quote from C. H. Spurgeon. Lectures to my Students.
In the midst of a long stretch of unbroken labour, the same affliction (that is, depression) may be looked for. The bow cannot be always bent without fear of breaking. Repose is as needful to the mind as sleep to the body. Our Sabbaths are our days of toil, and if we do not rest upon some other day we shall break down. Even the earth must lie fallow and have her Sabbaths, and so must we. Hence the wisdom and compassion of our Lord, when He said to His disciples, “Let us go into the desert and rest awhile.” What! when the people are fainting? When the multitudes are like sheep upon the mountains without a shepherd? Does Jesus talk of rest? When Scribes and Pharisees, like grievous wolves, are rending the flock, does He take His followers on an excursion into a quiet resting place? Does some red-hot zealot denounce such atrocious forgetfulness of present and pressing demands? Let him rave in his folly. The Master knows better than to exhaust His servants and
quench the light of Israel. Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength. Look at the mower in the summer’s day, with so much to cut down ere the sun sets. He pauses in his labourÂ— is he a sluggard? He looks for his stone, and begins to draw it up and down his scythe, with “rink-a-tinkÂ—rink-a-tinkÂ—rink-a-tink.” Is that idle musicÂ—is he wasting precious moments? How much he might have mown while he has been ringing out those notes on his scythe! But he is sharpening his tool, and he will do far more when once again he gives his strength to those long sweeps which lay the grass prostrate in rows before him. Even thus a little pause prepares the mind for greater service in the good cause.
Fishermen must mend their nets, and we must every now and then repair our mental waste and set our machinery in order for future service. To tug the oar from day to day, like a galley-slave who knows no holidays, suits not mortal men. Mill-streams go on and on for ever, but we must have our pauses and our intervals. Who can help being out of breath when the race is continued without intermission? Even beasts of burden must be turned out to grass occasionally; the very sea pauses at ebb and flood; earth keeps the Sabbath of the wintry months; and man, even when exalted to be God’s ambassador, must rest or faint; must trim his lamp or let it burn low; must recruit his vigour or grow prematurely old. It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less. On, on, on for ever, without recreation, may suit spirits emancipated from this “heavy clay,” but while we are in this tabernacle, we must every now and then cry halt, and serve the Lord by holy inaction and consecrated leisure. Let no tender conscience doubt the lawfulness of going out of harness for a while, but learn from the experience of others the necessity and duty of taking timely rest.
3. Dangers in the present situation.
a. Decrease in working hours – more free time.
b. The modern idols of sport and leisure activities.
c. Need for Christian distinctiveness. 2. Cor. 6.17 in
connection with the worship of idols.
d. Needless contact with the ungodly and the danger of
imbibing their attitudes. Acts 4.23.
Quote from Jonathan Edwards, I. Murray, p. 43. Pursuit of Holiness
The last resolution, the seventieth, was written on August 17,1723,two months before his twentieth birthday. The following extracts may be taken as representative of the spirit of the whole:
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him, by his grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake….
Resolved, Never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God, nor be, nor suffer it, if I can possibly avoid it.
Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.
Resolved, To strive every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.
Resolved, Never to say anything at all against any body, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule.
Resolved, To inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent – what sin I have committed – and wherein I have denied myself; also, at the end of every week, month and year.
I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, That I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age.
Resolved, To endeavour, to my utmost, so to act, as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments.
Resolved, Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
Resolved, Never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour before I should hear the last trump.
Let there be something of benevolence in all that I speak.