Summertime, summertime … no time to work just time to play. This was a song by a group called The Jamies that came on the music scene in 1958. The song extolled the carefree attitude of young people with nothing to do but party all summer long. But as youths in God’s Church, you need to have a well-balanced summer experience to further your training. You have a great advantage I did not have as a youth: As young people in God’s Church, you possess knowledge about God’s way of life that will pay you great dividends. I was not in God’s Church as a youngster, but my summers were some of the best times of my young life.
My parents never took extended time off for vacation, so most of the summer I stayed in my neighborhood, but I never longed for things to do.
One thing I never did was stay in the house playing video games, watching television or any other inane pastimes whiling my summer away. Unlike the lyrics from “Summertime Summertime”—It’s time to live and have some thrills, Come along and have a ball, A regular free-for-all—I had a pretty structured summer.
I always had jobs to do in the summer, such as mowing yards, general yard work and helping my father around the house. Coupled with the money that I earned during the long winter months shoveling snow from neighbors’ driveways, I could save a tidy amount of money. My parents always taught me to have a savings account. I learned at an early age how to handle money and budget it properly. I learned to appreciate the reward that hard work produces. My sister would do babysitting jobs and housecleaning for the neighbors.
As youths in God’s Church, you must never forget the value of learning how to work hard and doing a good job at the same time. If you learn that practice at a young age, it will pay benefits throughout your life. Pay heed to Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”
Remember, whether you are a teen continuing your high school years or going on to college or graduating and starting to look for full-time employment, what you do now will carry you through the rest of your life. If you use your summertime wisely, when it’s time to seek full-time employment, you will possess the fundamental job skills that will impress a prospective employer.
At the age of 13, my two children starting working part time in a vegetable market where they swept floors and watered plants. After working there five years they were managing the store.
Another important lesson you learn from working and earning money is tithing and giving offerings. No matter how small your tithe or offering is, God respects your willingness to follow the tithing laws. However, God wants us to learn to give in addition to obeying His tithing laws. Remember 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Every man [or youth] according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
Besides working at odd jobs during the summer, I was on a baseball team. We traveled throughout the county playing other baseball teams. Our parents would travel with us and some would umpire the games. Sportsmanship was foremost on our minds, so we had a close sense of comradeship.
Along with work, recreation should be part of your summertime activities. If at all possible, plan your recreation outdoors so that you can enjoy God’s great creation. Exercise is vitally important to maintain healthy and vibrant bodies and a sound mind. A river ran through my parent’s backyard, and one of my favorite pastimes was fishing and bringing home a mess of fish to cook. Enjoy God’s great outdoors and learn to appreciate His creation.
Last, but not least, remember to get in daily prayer, Bible study and meditation. We never want to take a vacation away from the basic building blocks of our spiritual foundation. Ask your parents if you can do your Bible study with them once each week. At dinnertime, discuss with them a booklet you have been studying. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you don’t understand. In this day and age, Satan is doing his best to break up families. Spend time with your parents in work, play and in worship.
For those of you attending sep this July, you will experience recreation, work periods, Bible study and Bible-based sessions. The activities at sep provide a great example of what you can do even if not attending sep. You can have a well-balanced summer if you incorporate these activities into you summer program.
Enjoy your summer and remember the words of Solomon, “Rejoice, O young man [or young lady], in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes …” (Ecclesiastes 11:9).
Fill your summer with work, recreation and dedicated Bible study, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
Summertime is a time of great opportunities. Make your summer a productive one and you’ll look back at it with satisfaction!