/ Rest / Kit Swartz

The Biblical Doctrine of Vacation

You read that correctly. Vacation, not vocation; that time when we “vacate” our ordinary work in order to rest, recover, recreate and refresh.

The Lord provides His people with abundant opportunities for rest and refreshment.  He gives us the night for sleep each day (Ps.104:23; 127:2). He gives us the Lord’s Day Sabbath each week for rest from our ordinary work in order to worship, show mercy and address necessities (Gen.2:2f; Ex.20:8f; 1Cor.16:2; WCF 21,8 1).  In the ceremonies of the Old Covenant, He appointed an additional day each month on the new moon for rest and refreshment (2Kngs.4:23).  This new moon rest is no longer obligatory in the New Covenant (Col.2:16), but it was a gracious provision that we are free to enjoy. Perhaps in an unintended recognition of this blessing, our national calendar includes a holiday in almost every month.  Also in the ceremonies of the Old Covenant, the Lord gave three significant rests in the seventh month: the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah, New Year’s), The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths, Ingathering). These holy days occurred throughout the seventh month.  We are no longer required to observe these feasts but taking a vacation for a couple or a few contiguous weeks each year is a blessing.

The biblical doctrine of vacation, then, is one night each day, one day each week, an additional day each month and a few contiguous weeks each year.  Resting in these ways is an act of faith; that is, trusting God to bless us even while we rest.

It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. – Psalm 127:2

And He was saying, "The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows-- how, he himself does not know. - Mark 4:26,27

In this season of vacations, and in every divine gift of rest, rejoice with thanksgiving and trust the Lord to bless you in and through your rest.


1 This sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy. (The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 21, Paragraph 8).