Weekly Devotional: "Leisure"

This devotional is based on C.J. Mahaney's sermon, Leisure, given on August 28, 2016.


Day 1: The Gift of Leisure


  • “The Creation account is God-centered, and the Creation account concludes with all eyes fixed upon God. This informs and defines a Biblical perspective of rest and leisure because there is no true rest, there is no genuine leisure apart from God, apart from a relationship with God, and fellowship with the living God. So for the Christian, rest and leisure is a gift from God. It is a means of growing in our knowledge of God and enjoyment of God” C.J. Mahaney
  • “Adam and Eve were created intentionally on the sixth day so that their first full day was a day of rest, not work. A day of rest where they were to enjoy God and his finished work to which they made no contribution…So their lives began with the sweet awareness that they were dependent on God’s gracious care and provision, not ultimately their work. This, brothers and sisters, is a picture and preview of the Gospel!” C.J. Mahaney

Questions and Reflections:

  • How do you feel about leisure? Compare the worldview of leisure from the vantage point of secularism to that of the Christian?
  • How does leisure reflect the nature of worship?
  • If different people enjoy different things, what can we define as leisure?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Reread Genesis 2:1-3. Praise God for his gift of leisure! Ask him to shape your understanding of this gift after the truth of his Word instead of the presumption of the world. Ask him for help to enjoy this gift all the more deeply!


Day 2: The Purpose of Leisure


  • “Leisure is a means of perceiving and appreciating the generosity of God.” C.J. Mahaney
  • “Gratitude exclaims, very properly, ‘How good of God to give me this.’ Adoration says, ‘What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!’” C.S. Lewis

Questions and Reflections:

  • How can our pleasure in leisure and our pleasure in God complement (rather than compete with) each other?
  • How does God reveal himself through your favorite leisure activities? Which of his attributes shine most brilliantly? What fills you with thankfulness?
  • How does gratitude toward God actually make our experience of leisure sweeter?
  • How would the World define pleasure? What would it say about the purpose(s) of leisure?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Colossians 1:9-10 reminds us that we, as Christians, are to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord at all times. Ask God to reveal ways in which you may not be using your non-work time to bring glory to God. Ask him to bring renewed thankfulness for the grace he pours out on you during times of leisure.


Day 3: Evaluating Leisure


  • “What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give . . . Anything can be an idol, and everything has been an idol . . . Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life . . . If anything becomes more fundamental than God to your happiness, meaning in life, and identity then it is an idol.” Tim Keller
  • “Rest, then, becomes our regular dramatization of the heart of the gospel: ‘To the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith will be counted as righteousness’ (Romans 4:5). We can put down our tools. We can close our computers. We can forbid those thoughts about that next meeting or those emails waiting for a reply or how the numbers aren’t as high as we’d like. We can stop and trust him who justifies the ungodly. We can trust that when Jesus died in our place on the cross, he died to destroy all the anxieties of our lack, to still our ceaseless striving, to hush the winds of our self-justifying labor, to irrevocably connect us to the abundance of his grace we possess by his work, not ours.” Jonathan Parnell

Questions and Reflections:

  • How can you seek little moments of leisure for the glory of God?
  • What leisure activities stir your affections for God? Which dull your affections?
  • How can you determine if the amount of time you’re devoting to leisure is appropriate?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Isaiah 25:6-9 paints one of the most pleasurable pictures of heaven in Scripture. Ask God to use your leisure to whet your appetite for the ultimate and everlasting pleasure that we will enjoy in the presence of God!


Group Discussion Questions:

What types of activities refresh your soul during non-work time?

From a Christian worldview, how would you define leisure? How would a Christian respond to the terminology “free-time”?

C.J. gives us three ways we can establish a theology of leisure:

  • Look for God’s gift of leisure every day
  • Create a plan for the pursuit of leisure
  • Be grateful to God for the gift of leisure

Which of these concepts has God used recently to help you establish a theology of leisure? Which do you need to ask God to help you work on?

How does leisure remind you of the Gospel?