Jesus is not a Vacation Home

Jimmy Dodd |

What a year 2020 has been! No one could have foreseen all that this year would hold. As I reflect on the greatest spiritual lessons I have learned over the past 12 months – one near the top of the list occurred in August 2019. In his grace, the Lord taught me a lesson that has returned to mind over and over again. Jesus is not a vacation home. Let me explain. 

The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island are the five municipalities that make up New York City. Over the years, a number of locations across America have been dubbed ‘The Sixth Borough of NYC’. And at the top of that list is Hillsboro Beach Florida. 

In August 2019 I was a part of Soul Care gathering in Hillsboro Beach, located just north of Ft. Lauderdale in beautiful south Florida. The National Christian Foundation of S. Florida hosted the gathering going so far as to provide accommodations at the beautiful Hillsboro Club. Each morning, I woke as the sun was about to break through the horizon to flood the beach with spectacular sunlight. I took a walk down Hillsboro Beach, walking past dozens of homes that comprise “NYC’s sixth borough”.

The vast majority of homes that sit directly on Hillsboro Beach are owned by New Yorkers. And they are indescribable! The average price of a Highway A1A home is well above 20 million. The most expensive home ever constructed in the US up until 2018 was a 157 million-dollar mansion on A1A in Hillsboro Beach (the home later sold for 60 million – what a steal!). As I walked the beach I marveled at mansion after luxurious mansion, each of which had between fifteen to twenty balconies that overlooked the beach. That’s right – fifteen to twenty balconies in every home! Seemingly every room facing the ocean came with an accompanying balcony. I think the bathrooms had balconies! As I walked in the surf, I begin a curious pursuit. I looked for anyone on a balcony. Anyone! Surely one person would be on a balcony to take in a stunning sunrise! Finding no one, I begin to count balconies. It wasn’t long until I had literally counted more than 700 balconies – and not one person was on one of the 700 balconies!! Hillsboro Beach was a ghost town!

And then reality hit me (sometimes it takes me awhile). These multi-million-dollar mansions, owned by uber-wealthy New Yorkers, were vacation homes. These homes were empty! No one was home! And it’s no surprise! No one who has a vacation home on Hillsboro Beach goes to Florida in August when it is ridiculously hot! They come to Florida when it is uncomfortable in New York and beautiful and comfortable in Florida (also called winter). No one in their right mind would inhabit a vacation home when the temperature and humidity are unbearable, even if the home does have twenty balconies! 

And that’s when God began to speak deeply to my soul (not surprising as I was there to discuss soul care!). How often do I treat the Lord like a vacation home? How often do I fail to pursue Jesus when it is uncomfortable? Why do I tend to visit Jesus when the conditions are ideal? God has given me the gift of a home in Jesus Christ. He has adopted me into his family. I am no longer an orphan but a son. And yet – I all too often fail to flee to Jesus – particularly when I need Him the most. 2020 has been a crisis year. There has never been a more critical time to flee to Jesus. In the midst of the pandemic and the racial crisis facing America, more than ever, I need Jesus!!  

O Lord, may I not treat you as a vacation home. May I reside in Jesus year-round, despite the emotional, relational and spiritual climate. May I find my souls rest in Jesus and Jesus alone. 

Thank you for being a part of the PastorServe’s vision That No pastor would Walk Alone and our mission to Strengthen the Church by Serving Pastors. We strive to remind pastors that Jesus is far more than a vacation home. He is our permanent home of safety and belonging! 

Because of Jesus,

Jimmy Dodd, Founder and CEO

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