I love to see kids playing at the park, climbing over monkey bars, swinging on swings. just having fun. It’s a shame we tend to stop “playing” when we grow up. But should we?
Recently we held a pastors retreat in the Dominican Republic where we gathered a group of leaders at a retreat center out of town to experience the Father’s Love deeper. It was a wonderful time, especially without television or lots of media distractions. So what did they do between teachings?
They fellowshipped — a churchy lingo way to say they hung out together — and they played. As they drank coffee, shared stories, shot basketball hoops, and swam in the pool, there was lots and lots of laughter.
I’ve never heard so many jokes (all clean ones) and such loud laughter from a group of people. And most of the antics came from the men! During the breaks they jested about sermons they could preach or unusual books they could write. One of the funniest ideas was a message about the good things you could learn from the bad girls in the Bible. For instance: Delilah cut hair very well; Eve was very sharing with her husband. On and on it went till everyone was chuckling and throwing in their own suggestion. It thrilling to see these sweet men and women of God relaxing and having some fun.
Sometimes I think we believe that once we grow up life has to be serious all the time, where anything “fun” is looked down upon. Yet, I imagine when Jesus was hanging out with His disciples, there were probably plenty of jokes and horseplay between the guys. Think about it, twelve men traveling together, eating together…. I bet farts were funny even back then.
I think this is also why the Father likes to remind us we are still children, His kids.
Kids need time to play. Yes, chores are good and studies are important, but many things are learned simply by playing. Unity is formed with teamwork; awe and wonder is found in looking at details; creativity comes with trying and experiencing new things; ideas are sparked by role playing; and reverence is renewed in Nature itself.
More and more studies are showing that play is vital to our health — which is at least one good reason God calls us His kids. Father keeps us secure in His love where we don’t have to worry about performing for His acceptance. Like a child, we can just enjoy His goodness and play.