The first point we should emphasize is that a certain amount of leisure time is right, proper, and even needful. Our Lord realized this, and instructed his apostles in this regard during a particularly busy period of work. Notice: "And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately." (Mark 6:30-32). Thus, it should be obvious to us that we need some leisure time. Without it, our physical and spiritual well-being will suffer.
The other essential in this matter of leisure time is to manage it wisely. We are stewards of the time that God has given us, and must regulate our schedules with this understanding. "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15,16 - NASV). Folks who make the pursuit of leisure time their primary concern, are ignoring this concept of time accountability.
Having established that a) we need some leisure time, and b) we need to properly manage it; let us suggest the following do's and don'ts:
- Engage in activities that will tend to build you up spiritually rather than tear you down. Some types of activities, by their very nature, cause you to be with people and to be in places that yield prolonged and frequent temptations. Make a conscious effort to avoid these (1 Corinthians 15:33).
- Look for opportunities to spend time with faithful Christians. It is much easier to live righteously when you are around good people. Make it easy on yourself - seek out that kind of company in your leisure time. "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another" (Romans 12:10).
- Don't be selfish. Remember to include your family in your leisure time plans. We've seen too many fathers and mothers who seem all too anxious to get away from their families at such times. Leisure time is good time to spend bringing your children up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).
- Constantly keep in mind the importance of your example before others (Matthew 5;16). "Abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5: 22). And when it comes to leisure time activities, many Christians need to be warned to maintain modesty (1 Timothy 2:9,10).
- The good general rule in these matters is to "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). Never let any such activity interfere with your spiritual service to God. If we will keep our priorities in the right order, then we should be able to make the right decisions about managing our leisure time.
Leisure time - we need some! But as Christians we must be sure to manage it wisely.