First; recreation may not be in the use of holy things, that is, in the use of the Word, sacraments, prayer, or in any act of religion… Second; recreation may not be made of the sins or offenses of men. They ought to be unto us the matter of sorrow and mourning… Third; we may not make recreation of God’s judgments, or of the punishments of sin.
A Puritan Golden Treasury, compiled by I.D.E. Thomas, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 2000, p. 232.
How are we to use recreations?…four special rules: Rule 1. We are to make choice of recreations that are of least offense and of best report. Rule 2. Our recreations must be profitable to ourselves and others, and they must tend also to the glory of God. Rule 3. The end of our recreation must be to refresh our bodies and minds. Rule 4. Recreation must be moderate and sparing, even as the use of meat and drink and rest.
A Puritan Golden Treasury, compiled by I.D.E. Thomas, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 2000, p. 233.
If we are living our lives productive physically and emotionally as God intended we should never feel guilty about taking a break. Sometimes a nap or day off or vacation is the best thing we can do. We need the solitude to recharge and reflect. We retreat not in defeat, but we retreat in order to come back stronger and refreshed. Even when the Gospel needed to be proclaimed, Jesus and His disciples took time away from the crowds (Mk. 6:31; Lk. 9:10).
It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less. On, on, on forever, without recreation, may suit spirits emancipated from this “heavy clay,” but while we are in this tabernacle, we must every now and then cry halt, and serve the Lord by holy inaction and consecrated leisure. Let no tender conscience doubt the lawfulness of going out of harness for a while, but learn from the experience of others the necessity and duty of taking timely rest.