Give It a Rest


Workaholics are everywhere.

They are in the corporate world, the religious world, the volunteer world, and everywhere in between.

I enjoy working hard, and I enjoy being around other hard-working people. Laziness is a problem--no argument from me. But like so many things in life, the workaholic and the sluggard occupy two polar extremes of one very important continuum.

How much you work and how much you rest will largely determine the longevity of your work, as well as the quality.

We've all heard of "burn outs" that tortured themselves to get to a work-related goal and then fizzled off the scene because they couldn't maintain the back-breaking pace.

Then we've probably encountered the "Why should I work when there are other people that can do my work for me?" people.

Where are you on this spectrum?

As a Christian, I have often asked myself how hard I should be working to accomplish goals in my life.

As I thought about it, a question entered my mind.

What does God think about rest?

Is God a workplace supervisor that monitors our time in the bathroom and audits our 40 hours to ensure we're not "ripping him off?"

Or is God an indifferent supervisor that has no idea how often we work or even if we work at all?

He is neither.

I certainly can't write a 700-word blog that answers all the questions about your life and the effort you are currently placing on your priorities. 

However, I can share with you some thoughts I've had lately about work and rest.

#1 God could have created us to never rest.

Had he chosen to do so, He could have designed our bodies to be awake constantly and never get tired. He could have removed sleep from the schedule. But he didn't.

He CREATED rest. It is something He intended as part of our existence. Ignoring rest is just as disgraceful as ignoring work.

#2 God did not get tired after working six days.

In the first chapter of Genesis, we read that God worked six days to create time, space, matter, and living creatures. Then He rested on the seventh day.

Why?

Everything in the Bible states that God is omnipotent and does not require rest.

Psalm 121:4 Behold, he that keeps Israel [God] shall neither slumber nor sleep.

Then why did God rest?

Because He intended for rest to be a part of our weekly schedule. He made our minds to be busy, but then to relax and enjoy the benefits of our work. 

Ecclesiastes 3:13 Every man should eat, drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is a gift of God.

#3 God is upset when we don't rest.

Since God went out of His way to create rest and then model it for us, why do so many people ignore rest?

It seems to me they believe their way is more advantageous than God's way. That's pretty blatant, but that's what happens when we translate actions into words.

And when we ignore rest and justify it with, "But I'm serving God," He's not happy.

God doesn't need your productivity. He's not impressed with your log sheet or your time card. He doesn't think you're more valuable because you don't sleep.

How do I know?

Because Israel tried that. 

In Leviticus chapter 25, God commanded Israel to work for six years in the fields and then take an ENTIRE YEAR off of work every seventh year. They would store up food for that year and let the people and the land rest.

Of course, they thought they knew better, so they ignored God. They did not observe this command.

Four hundred and ninety years passed. During that time, their disregard for God's commands had spread to many other areas; and judgment was coming.

Leviticus 26:33-35 And I will scatter you among the [nations] and will draw out a sword after you; and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lies desolate and you be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest and enjoy her sabbaths--as long as it lies desolate it shall rest. Because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when you dwelt upon it. [Emphases added]

When God calculated the judgment, He told them He would send them into captivity in Babylon for seventy years.

Jeremiah 29:10 For thus says the LORD, "After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place [Israel]."

Did you already do the math? Every 7th year should have been a year of rest for the land. They ignored that for 490 years.

490 / 7 = 70

He was taking back the years of rest they had ignored.

God was unhappy with their lust for productivity.

Conclusion:

Whether you are a Christian or not, you need rest. 

For you that are Christians, you should consider your view of rest. 

It's not a sin to rest. It's not a "waste of time" to rest. It's necessary, important, and designed by God for your benefit.

Image credits:
Relaxing guy image from http://bodyonept.com/2014/07/the-real-value-of-rest/

1 comment:

  1. I love this verse in Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

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