I’ve got good news- summer’s coming! I’ve been counting down since spring break, and I look forward to slow mornings, lake days, and evening walks. While it’s easy to think summer is for us and let it slip away into a blur of Netflix binges and lazy days, I want to challenge it’s not for us and we should be intentional with our summer. Generally, summer is a less busy season. Since we have the gift of more time, let’s steward it well for God’s glory. Here are some ways we can be intentional for Jesus this summer:
Dive into the Word even more. While we should be in the Word in all seasons, summer affords more time to soak it up a little longer and dig a little deeper. Really dive into a book (or books) of the Bible. Meditate on it so it’s rooted in our hearts. Let’s see our time in the Word as an investment that yields benefits in life’s busy and hard seasons and in eternity.
Plug in and serve at church. Just like with the above suggestion, this should happen in all seasons, but many churches have “extra” things going on like VBS, camps, etc. Find out what that looks like in your church and be involved! Also, summer is a great time to cultivate the habit of attending Sunday school/small groups if you’re not already. Sunday school/small group and serving are the best ways to get to know people in our churches!
Learn about and pray for other countries. Window on the World and joshuaproject.net are excellent resources that share facts about Christianity in countries and specific prayer requests/praises. Something to make this even more fun would be to make a meal with food from this country (hello, Pinterest, for this resource!).
Open up our homes. There’s a thousand ways to use our homes for the glory of God. Invite a friend over for coffee. Read through a book of the Bible with others in the living room. Have new neighbors or visitors from church over for dinner. The list is endless! Remember, hospitality isn’t about a Pinterest-perfect, spotless house, but about loving on and caring for the people in the home!
Serve the orphan, widow, or anyone in need. Being pro-life is currently a hot topic, and to truly be pro-life, we must care for the pre-born, single moms, foster children and families, adoptive families, etc. We must also care for the widows, poor, or anyone else in need. This is the kind of love Jesus calls us to, because it’s how he loves us. Take a meal to a foster family. Do yard work for someone for whom it’s difficult. Buy groceries for others while you’re already out buying yours. The list goes on! I wrote more on this here.
Read. While I love reading “mindless” books as I watch the waves roll in from the ocean, summer is also a great time to pick up some theologically sound books that’ll increase our love for God. I’m currently reading Adopted for Life by Russell Moore; it’s SO good! Some of my other favorites are- Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin (I love anything by her), Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman, and The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield. Summer is a great time to read with our kids, too! Some of my favorite Jesus-centered children’s books are- The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones, God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell, and The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung.
I’m not sure exactly what summer looks like for you, but this can be summed up with this statement- Use your summer to be intentional for Jesus. We don’t have to do everything on this list (or any of them, for that matter). Remember, Christianity isn’t a checklist; it’s about living in connection with our Savior, for the purpose of his glory out of thankfulness for what he’s done for us. Make no mistake, being intentional for Jesus doesn’t have to mean big, grandiose things. We can (and should) be intentional for Jesus in our everyday- as our kids run through the sprinkler (pray for them, talk about the Creator who created the grass they run through, etc.), as we endure summer sports practices (pray as you practice, have Gospel conversations with teammates, etc.), and more.
I get so excited anticipating how the Lord will work each summer! We’ll go on vacation, have lake days, and spend lots time watching our boys ride bikes. These are good things, ways for us to rest and connect with one another, and I’ll treasure these memories forever. What I’ll also treasure, though, are conversations we’ll have with our students at camp, Bible stories we’ll read to our boys, and prayers we’ll pray for India as we await to bring our daughter home. Have fun this summer, but don’t lose sight that summer isn’t for us- it’s for Jesus (as is all of life). Imagine if we were all intentional for Jesus this summer! Think about how ours and others’ affections for Jesus would be stirred as we sought to live for him and not ourselves. Think about how cultivating this mindset would create in us a heart to continue living intentionally for Jesus as we returned to “normal” schedules in August. May this summer be a launching pad for our families, neighborhoods, churches, schools, jobs, etc. to be changed for the glory of God! May we see Christ’s kingdom grow throughout this summer and beyond!