Leisure in the New Testament is based on the life, teaching or examples of Jesus Christ. Christ recognized the rhythm of life and pointed out that life is more important than work. The main ideas about leisure in the New Testament include the following.

1. Jesus recognized the importance of having some rest from work. He called on His disciples to leave the crowd for a lonely place. This came before His miraculous act of feeding five thousand people from five loaves and two fish. (Mark 6: 31 ff).

2. Jesus observed the Sabbath. He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath in order to fulfill the requirement of the Jewish custom (Luke 4:16).

3. Jesus corrected the Sabbath rest that had already been misunderstood to fit human needs. The Jews had introduced many petty regulations restricting the observation of the Sabbath which had imposed a lot of burden onto people. Christ criticizes this and points out that the Sabbath was made fur man but not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2: 27).

4. Jesus had private retreats during His free time. He isolated Himself and prayed to God (Mark 1:35 and Luke 6: 12).

5. Jesus had time for fellowship. He enjoyed having meals with his disciples after finishing preaching (Mark 6: 35- 44).

6. Jesus visited His friends like Mary, Martha and Lazarus during his free time. He feasted with them during this visitation (Luke 10:38).

7. Jesus attended social parties, He had a feast in the house of Levi together with other tax collectors (Luke 5: 29). In John 2:1, He attended a wedding at Cana from where he performed His first miracle of changing water into wine.

8. Jesus enjoyed the company of children during his free time. He played with them freely in his arms and pointed out that the kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are innocent like them (Luke 18: 16).

9. Jesus explained parables during his free time. This was because his followers had failed to understand the parables he used during preaching. He took time to clarify the meaning of his parables including that of the sower and the tenants. (Mark 4: 13-20 and Mathew 25: 14-30).

10. Jesus also enjoyed stories during his free time. For example, he conversed with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well (John 4: 1 ff), Niccodemus (John 3: 1 ff) and with his friends like Mary and Martha.

11. Jesus performed many miracles during his free time. In Mark 3:1-5, the man with a paralyzed hand got healed. He also raised Jairus daughter. (Mark 5:38-42)

12. Jesus also took time to explain how leisure was to be enjoyed. He emphasized the need for humility, hospitability and respect for one another while enjoying Leisure (Luke 14:7 ft).

13. Jesus called on his disciples to rest in him urging them to believe in him and take his example as they try to find the final and everlasting rest from the burden of their heavy load (Mathew II: 28-29).

Jesus' understanding of the Sabbath (Mark 2: 23 - 28).

By the time Jesus began his ministry, the Sabbath had become inhuman: It was no longer serving one of its original purposes of helping people to enjoy rest and freedom and to grow together in peace and trust.

The Jewish religious authority insisted on many petty regulations or laws that had to he observed on the Sabbath day. There were thirty-nine (39) types of work that had to he avoided including lighting fire, clapping hands and walking long distances among others.

It was at this point that Jesus criticized the way the Sabbath was being observed. He declared that "the Sabbath was made tor man, but not man for the Sabbath". By this statement, Jesus meant that.

Man had to enjoy rest and worship God on the Sabbath day.

Man had to enjoy his freedom on the Sabbath day instead of being enslaved.

Man had to fellowship with God and to grow together in peace and trust.

Man had to reflect on God's creation and appreciate nature.

Man had to praise and thank God for His goodness.

Man had to share the fruits of their labour with each other.

Man has to preach the good news and bring each other closer to God and fellow man.

• Man had to read and meditate on the biblical texts on the day of rest.

How can a Christian use his or he free time constructively?

1. A Christian should visit his or her friends, especially during daytime. Jesus also visited his friend like Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

2. A Christian should attend social parties like weddings and graduations. Jesus also attended a wedding party at Cana. (John 2: 1)

3. A Christian should spend his free time praying just as Jesus isolated himself and prayed in a lonely place. (Mark I: 35).

4. .Christians can spend leisure by making pilgrimage. Jesus visited Jerusalem as a holy place. (Mark 11. 1ff)

5. A Christian should spend his or her time telling and enjoying stories. Jesus enjoyed stories; with the Samaritan woman and Niccodemus. He also enjoyed the use of parables. (John 4: 1 ff and 3: 1 ff)

6. A Christian should relax during his or her free. Jesus also relaxed in quite places.

7. A Christian can spend leisure by helping the needy such as the sick, orphans, widows and the lame.

8. A Christian can also spend leisure by celebrating important religious festivals such as Christmas and Palm Sundays. Jesus observed the Sabbath day. (Luke 4: 16)

9. A Christian can spend leisure by preaching the good news just as Jesus preached during his ministry. (Mark 6:2).

10. A Christian can have fellowship during his or her leisure. Jesus shared meals with his disciples during free time. (Mark 6:35 - 44)

11. Reading and interpreting the scriptures can also be a way through which a Christian can spend leisure.

12. Christians can praise and worship God during leisure. This can be through songs and hymns.

13. A Christian can use his or her free time by reconciling conflict among people by encouraging the spirit of togetherness.

14. A Christian can utilize his or her free time by doing some homework. Jesus also helped his parents with domestic work.

15. A Christian can spend leisure charting and playing with children. Jesus freely played with children in his arms and pointed that the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. (Luke 16: 18)

16. A Christian can share his or her experiences with others during leisure. This can be through group discussions or seminars.

17. A Christian can watch constructive films or drama during leisure.

18. A Christian can involve himself in church activities such as choir, cleaning the inside and the surroundings.

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A complete talking Book for Uganda certificate of Education