A staggering 68 million people from America alone traveled to a foreign country in 2014. Most of these travelers probably considered themselves vacationers—but is this the mindset a follower of Christ should have? We’ve developed three thoughtful questions for you to test yourself with and determine where your focus is while traveling. It’s encouraging to know that a few simple adjustments in our thinking can cause our next vacation to have eternal impact for the kingdom of God.
1. Am I looking to be blessed, or to be a blessing?
The familiar saying that we’re “blessed to be a blessing” has strong biblical roots. When God forms the people of Israel from the seed of Abram, He promises to bless them so that they will be a blessing (see Gen. 12:1-3). This promise extends to Gentile Believers (you and me) because we’re also the people of God.
Did you know you were placed on this earth to be a blessing? You have the power to bless others with something as simple as eye contact and a smile. Moreover, your very presence (as a person redeemed by God) witnesses to His abundant goodness. As a living, breathing testament of His saving power, you are blessing others.
It’s perfectly natural to expect to be blessed on your vacation. You want to relax, enjoy yourself and come home refreshed. We’re confident this will happen—especially on a God-centered travel experience like a Christian concert cruise or Bible study tour. It’s simply a matter of priorities. Proverbs 11:25 says, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” To keep yourself in line with Scripture, ask God each day for specific opportunities to bless those you encounter. And since, in the words of Jesus, “‘It is more blessed to give than to receive,’” (Acts 20:35b) when you make it a point to put others’ needs above your own, you just can’t lose!
2. What’s my main objective: the Great Commission or good times?
Did you know that the original Greek phrase “Go ye into all the world and make disciples of all nations,” (Matt. 28:19) would be better translated, “as you are going”? Instead of confining missions to foreign service, this brings the meaning a bit closer to home. In other words, your life is a mission trip. As you’re going throughout your day-to-day activities, remember that you’ve been commissioned to lead people into relationship with Jesus Christ. This is a wonderful reminder for those about to take their dream vacation!
Keep in mind, too, that it’s not always the case that someone accepts the Gospel message the first time they hear it. In fact, it may take many instances of hearing the same truth for it to finally sink in. This should encourage Christians to share the Good News of the kingdom everywhere they go. You may not be the one to bring the Caribbean shopkeeper you meet through the waters of baptism, but by sharing that Jesus is real and the difference He’s made in your life, you can play a part in their journey.
3. Am I seeking my own interests, or also the interests of others?
Good works are highly underrated. There’s an often-overlooked verse in the New Testament which records that Jesus “went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38b). We too can bring a word of encouragement, healing or deliverance to those we meet, because God is with us. In fact, Scripture gives us this incredible exhortation: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” (Ephesians 2:20). This makes each day an exciting journey to discover those kind words and deeds, born of the heart of God, that are just waiting to be expressed through us.
Wherever we go, God has lined up good things for us to accomplish. Perhaps at our workplace, it’s catching an accounting error that’s costing the company we work for thousands of dollars. In family life, maybe we’re the one to seek out that estranged family member and bring reconciliation where there’s been division. And on vacation? We will have the chance to reach those not normally within our sphere of influence. What about striking up a friendly conversation with a solo traveler and treating her to lunch? Perhaps your cruise ship steward is tired of feeling invisible and would really appreciate your genuine interest in his life. Whether you’re traveling near or far, determine to leave the world a better place than when you found it.