Any of the words beginning with "re-" are indications of some kind of do-over. Refreshment, the first derivative of vacation in this geezers next chapter is a apt example. It means to invigorate something to a state of freshness, perhaps something that has grown stale. Reflection is typically less about fixing things or giving something in life a new spin. But, it does involve a process of contemplating life with the added potential of making adjustments or changes. That's why refocus is such a vital third aspect of vacation in this next chapter. Refreshment means that something about life has lost some of it's vigor. Reflection opens the heart and mind so we can see the big picture of life with clarity. Refocus is the resulting action step. When we refocus we fine-tune life until the next vacation. Refreshment and reflection move from the dreams and wishes of the theoretical to actualities. Refocus puts them into motion.
Certainly the Bible is instruction in living God's purpose and plan for us humans. The inner life of believers is a significant theme in Scripture, composites of our devotional and worship experiences, meditation on God's Word, our relationships with other believers, and the disciplines of refreshment and reflection. Today many Christians live and celebrate those more personal, internal virtues that enable us to live confidently in a world like ours. People who study the numbers and examine the spiritual landscape of America often reference the fortress church, those communities of faith that are havens of protection and security for the family of faith. More to the point, they are internally focused, many in survival mode. How is that so for the New Testament church which Christ empowered on the Day of Pentecost? It's not that complex. In many respects the fortress church exists because the Christians who comprise it have developed the inner life to the exclusion of any outer expression. By and large we understand the salt and light truths Jesus taught. Sadly, we season and illumine our smaller world of self, perhaps family and home, and the other believers we encounter at church every week. There may be plenty of refreshment and reflection. But, the refocus button is often ignored.
Practical James wrote about the externals of faith. Pay attention to the central terms in his profound and eternal reminder---
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is
a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural
face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he
was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and
perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his
James 1: 22-25, ESV
Two or three thoughts register here. Evidently, James understood the lasting effect of doing. On vacation in this chapter, away from the usual rigors and routines of life, the moments of refreshment and reflection are typically lost in the blur of next chapter memory.
You know, life is a bucket. From birth we start putting things in our bucket. At
some point in the future our bucket becomes full. Things begin to drop out.
What drops out is what was put in their last. That's why we can remember some
event from fifty years ago but can't remember what we had for breakfast that
day. And, that's often what happens to the points of refreshment and reflection.
Doing is the cement of the refreshing, reflective lessons. Doing is the refocus of those impressions that have refreshed and gives us contemplative truth.
James was inspired to include an incredible promise in his writing about hearing and doing. He wrote as the final thought in this section----
...being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his
It's another key word in James' lesson about hearing and doing. A doer who "acts'. And, that may be the distinguishing mark of the consequential refocus that should follow our refreshment and reflection. Unless, perhaps, the exercises in refreshment and reflection are merely internals to make us feel a little better about ourselves, or more thoroughly equip us for the demands of life, or to be a better church member, all worthy lessons. No, according to James they are the externals of doing and acting. And, without them, according to James, our faith is dead (see James 2:17). And, the promise is that our doing will be blessed. WOW!
Rest on vacation? Not me. But, there is refreshment, reflection, and now at home, there is refocus.