The Adventist Home


Section 17—Relaxation and Recreation

Chapter 79—Recreation is Essential

Extreme Views Regarding Recreation—There are persons with a diseased imagination to whom religion is a tyrant, ruling them as with a rod of iron. Such are constantly mourning over their depravity and groaning over supposed evil. Love does not exist in their hearts; a frown is ever upon their countenances. They are chilled by the innocent laugh from the youth or from anyone. They consider all recreation or amusement a sin and think that the mind must be constantly wrought up to just such a stern, severe pitch. This is one extreme. Others think that the mind must be ever on the stretch to invent new amusements and diversions in order to gain health. They learn to depend on excitement and are uneasy without it. Such are not true Christians. They go to another extreme. The true principles of Christianity open before all a source of happiness, the height and depth, the length and breadth of which are immeasurable.1 AH 493.1

To Refresh the Spirits and Invigorate the Body—It is the privilege and duty of Christians to seek to refresh their spirits and invigorate their bodies by innocent recreation, with the purpose of using their physical and mental powers to the glory of God. Our recreations should not be scenes of senseless mirth, taking the form of the nonsensical. We can conduct them in such a manner as will benefit and elevate those with whom we associate, and better qualify us and them to more successfully attend to the duties devolving upon us as Christians.2 AH 493.2

I was shown that Sabbathkeepers as a people labor too hard without allowing themselves change or periods of rest. Recreation is needful to those who are engaged in physical labor and is still more essential for those whose labor is principally mental. It is not essential to our salvation, nor for the glory of God, to keep the mind laboring constantly and excessively, even upon religious themes.3 AH 494.1

With the question of recreation the surroundings of the home and the school have much to do. In the choice of a home or the location of a school these things should be considered. Those with whom mental and physical well-being is of greater moment than money or the claims and customs of society should seek for their children the benefit of nature's teaching and recreation amidst her surroundings.4 AH 494.2

Recreation Is Essential to Best Work—The time spent in physical exercise is not lost.... A proportionate exercise of all the organs and faculties of the body is essential to the best work of each. When the brain is constantly taxed while the other organs of the living machinery are inactive, there is a loss of strength, physical and mental. The physical system is robbed of its healthful tone, the mind loses its freshness and vigor, and a morbid excitability is the result.5 AH 494.3

Care needs to be exercised in regard to the regulation of hours for sleeping and laboring. We must take periods of rest, periods of recreation, periods for contemplation.... The principles of temperance have a wider range than many think.6 AH 494.4

Students Need Relaxation—Those who are engaged in study should have relaxation. The mind must not be constantly confined to close thought, for the delicate mental machinery becomes worn. The body as well as the mind must have exercise.7 AH 494.5

Attention to recreation and physical culture will at times, no doubt, interrupt the regular routine of schoolwork; but the interruption will prove no real hindrance. In the invigoration of mind and body, the fostering of an unselfish spirit, and the binding together of pupil and teacher by the ties of common interest and friendly association, the expenditure of time and effort will be repaid a hundredfold. A blessed outlet will be afforded for that restless energy which is so often a source of danger to the young. As a safeguard against evil, the preoccupation of the mind with good is worth more than unnumbered barriers of law and discipline.8 AH 495.1

Office Workers Who Needed Days for Recreation—I saw that but few realize the constant, wearing labor of those who are bearing the responsibilities of the work in the office. They are confined within doors day after day and week after week, while a constant strain upon the mental powers is surely undermining their constitutions and lessening their hold on life. These brethren are in danger of breaking suddenly. They are not immortal, and without a change they must wear out and be lost to the work. AH 495.2

We have precious gifts in Brethren A, B, and C. We cannot afford to have them ruin their health through close confinement and incessant toil.... AH 495.3

They have had scarcely any variation except what fevers and other sickness have given them. They should have a change frequently, should often devote a day wholly to recreation with their families, who are almost entirely deprived of their society. All may not be able to leave the work at the same time; but they should so arrange their work that one or two may go, leaving others to supply their places, and then let these in their turn have the same opportunity. AH 495.4

I saw that these brethren, A, B, and C, should as a religious duty take care of the health and strength which God has given them. The Lord does not require them just now to become martyrs to His cause. They will obtain no reward for making this sacrifice, for God wants them to live.9 AH 496.1

Seek Means for Innocent, Instructive Recreation—There are modes of recreation which are highly beneficial to both mind and body. An enlightened, discriminating mind will find abundant means for entertainment and diversion, from sources not only innocent, but instructive. Recreation in the open air, the contemplation of the works of God in nature, will be of the highest benefit.10 AH 496.2

I believe that, while we are seeking to refresh our spirits and invigorate our bodies, we are required of God to use all our powers at all times to the best purpose. We may associate together as we do here today, [Note: Portion of an address to a company of about two hundred, enjoying a season of recreation at Lake Goguac, near Battle Creek, Michigan, in May, 1870.] and do all to the glory of God. We can and should conduct our recreations in such a manner that we shall be fitted for the more successful discharge of the duties devolving upon us, and that our influence shall be more beneficial upon those with whom we associate. Especially should it be the case upon an occasion like this, which should be of good cheer to us all. We can return to our homes improved in mind and refreshed in body, and prepared to engage in the work anew, with better hope and better courage.11 AH 496.3

God's Invitation to Youth—God's invitation comes to each youth, “My son, give Me thine heart; I will keep it pure; I will satisfy its longings with true happiness.” God loves to make the youth happy, and that is why He would have them give their hearts into His keeping, that all the God-given faculties of the being may be kept in a vigorous, healthful condition. They are holding God's gift of life. He makes the heart beat; He gives strength to every faculty. Pure enjoyment will not debase one of God's gifts.12 AH 497.1