“I hope you have a great summer!” the man said as he was leaving. I began to think, “What does it mean to have a great summer?” I quickly came to the conclusion that there are probably as many answers to that question as there are people. Here is a quick list of possible answers that might cross people’s minds: 70 degree weather with no humidity, plenty of days at the beach, a successful baseball or soccer team, a profitable summer in business, vacation days, trips, amusement parks, hikes, and an endless number of other options. Since there are so many options for what a great
summer might look like, I went to the Scriptures to see if there were any objective criteria for determining what a great summer might look like.
I found an objective quality for greatness! The quality doesn’t necessarily describe the summer, but the person who is trying to have a great summer. Matthew 20:26 declares, “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.” One of the interesting points in that passage is the world and even followers of Jesus have different definitions of greatness compared to God’s definition. From the world’s perspective greatness is when you get to be the boss and call the shots, when you are able to exercise your authority, and when you do what you want to do. But from God’s perspective, greatness is becoming like Christ who, even though he was God, didn’t come into this world to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.
I have a suspicion that many people view a great summer through the lens of a vacation mentality. The vacation mindset says, “I get to do what I want to do when I want to do it.” But Matthew 20 suggests there is a better mindset, one of a servant; one who is not consumed with his or her own selfish desires, but rather desiring to give and to serve other people. If you want to have a great summer from God’s perspective, you ought to become a great servant, as you give yourself for the benefit of others.
Pursuing hospitality (Romans 12:13) is one example of how to have a great summer. Hospitality demands us to get our focus and attention off of ourselves and onto others. It also demands action that reaches out to other people. With the weather being a little nicer, and the daylight hours extending a little longer, take time to invite someone over to your house for a meal, to reach out to someone on the trip you are taking, or to invest in a believer’s life following a church service.
Another example of serving this summer is to practice helping! Instead of asking, “How can I do what I want to do?” ask, “How can I serve others by doing something that would be of benefit to them?” There are plenty of needs and opportunities whether with the saints, with the church buildings, with various ministries, or with the community to serve and to give yourself.
This leads to a final way to have a great summer: proclaim healing! By this I mean to proclaim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to others. Jesus came to give His life a ransom as He died on the cross for our sins. Whoever gives His life for Christ’s sake and the gospel will find it. The Apostle Paul speaks about the great joy he had when those he invested in trusted Christ, just like Jesus speaks about the great joy in heaven over the sinner who repents (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20; Luke 15:7). Perhaps the greatest summer for a believer would be to see another person come to
Christ after investing in their lives by being hospitable, helpful and by proclaiming to them healing from their sins that is found in Jesus Christ.