george hancockstefanA couple of weeks ago a weary father stopped by my office.  He had been transporting his children to numerous sports and artistic activities and as he opened my office door, he said: Where have all the lazy days of summer gone? Do we still have any left?  Did they exist in the past or were they a simply a myth that the previous generations invented?

Since I grew up on a farm, I assured him that there have indeed been lazy days of summer. There have not only been lazy days of summer, but every season had its lazy days, or days in which we worked less. The winter days provided lots of days of relaxation, reading, preparing the farming equipment for the sowing and harvesting. The farm kids use to say that the only bird that did not know how to relax was the rooster because no matter what the season, he would always get up early in the morning and try to get everybody else up by his noise.  There were lazy days after the spring sowing was done.  You could not help the corn or beans or potatoes grow by sitting at the end of the fields. In the summer we primarily harvested wheat in July and then we had the whole month of August. I remember that we had to work long and hard hours in the July because the wheat harvesting was of utmost importance. However, because it was so hot in August, most of the kids spent their days swimming in the nearby river. (One of the dumb things that the communist regime has done was to convert our area which was known as a granary area into tobacco plantations and then wonder why there was scarcity of bread! The small private farmers continued to sow wheat, but the regime switched their lands to tobacco.) 

In looking to my own schedule and knowing that the summer schedule slows down a little bit, I inserted several special projects that I had been meaning to attack. Now my summer schedule did not look different at all from the rest of the year!  I continued the regular preaching, took two denominational trips, was involved in the planning to two special events – Vacation Bible School and Good News at the Gazebo, taught an intensive post-college course, added an intensive Bible class, presented two academic papers (which need to be edited by September), prepared for three courses that I will teach in the fall, in addition to all the planning for the activities that will start here in September.  Whenever my body would complain I will try to rationalize that I should be glad that I have a job when others do not and that after all I do not know how to relax.  In fact I went to see a chiropractor a good number of years ago and he gave me one of those left-handed compliments: Pastor you are the most relaxed uptight person that I have met in my whole life.  Looking at you, you are the picture of relaxation, but your body tells a different story!

The lazy days of summer have gone with the rest and relaxation of the Sabbath. God, who does not need rest, rests on the Sabbath day and institutes that for us. Thou shall work six days, but on the sixth day you shall rest, you and everything that you have (paraphrase).  The industrial era and the computer era have lied to us.  They promises that we shall rest and relax more, but now I have more people who tell me that they have to be in contact with their office 24/7.  If the boss cannot call them, they can be dismissed. Seven days a week, 24 hours per day, every season and every vacation we have to be in contact with our work place.

Have you had a lazy day of summer this summer? At least a couple of days in which you did nothing – there was no agenda, no assignments, no phones, email, twitter, Facebook!  If it did not happen, make a sincere effort to schedule a couple of days and you will be refreshed and happy because you did it. 


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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...