”So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” – Genesis 2:3 ESV
I love this example of resting as a natural part of productive work. Rest not as something that would allow us to be lazy and unproductive and a non-contributor to those we should be assisting and providing for – but as part of a progression, of a pattern, of a glimpse of some things that appear drastically different that when working together rightly in the correct order.
Yes, rest at the end of our work is productive and effective in producing a great multiplication of our end results, because it allows a new season of productive work.
“Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” – 1 Timothy 5:7-8 ESV
“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15 ESV
I also love that we aren’t to twist God’s example of rest on the seventh into only a hard, religious requirement of the letter of the law that would hinder observance of “those greater parts of the law – mercy, justice, and faithfulness”. The Pharisees of today are still more immersed in heavy burdens of laws to restrict and confine, instead of being anointed by the Spirit of the Law to love, serve, forgive, and restore.
And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” – Mark 2:27 ESV
Do you see the beauty of it? The balance of it?
Just like we need the rest of Winter to allow for the new birth of Spring, the perseverence through the heat of Summer, and the fruitfulness of the harvest – do you see it?
Do you see the need for an imperfect people, in order for God to show that rightly working perfection is demonstrated more clearly and beautifully in the contrast allowed by the mercies of His love than in any rigid and unwavering law. The world can’t adequately measure what the hands can’t touch, what the eyes can’t see, what the ears can’t hear, what the tongue can’t tate – but what the heart cannot deny – a truth greater than measurement – a touch stronger than E=mc^2.
Yes, it is that narrow path. When I try to tell you, I find it is better instead to show you so that it isn’t lost in translation. He says, “Come walk with me, and I will show you the way. I will lift off your heavy burdens and give you rest.”
Rest in that right measure, in that balance, in that abiding trust in an Almighty God who loves you and who has made this Sabbath, this rest, for you. Will you enter into His rest today?
Will you confess that He is Lord and believe in your heart, and will you demonstrate it to others in your walk today? Not a walk of heavy obligation, but a dance of gratitude and praise – for the price paid, for the undeserved grace, for the inescapable beauty of this relationship with a living and loving God who is changing us – who is bringing us from the cold death of winter into the new life of spring so that we might last through the summer and see the fruit being bared in its due season.
If this is your time to be working, work!
If this is your time to be resting, rest!
If you have been doing either for too long, repent!
May the Lord bless you and lead you in His beautiful purpose, today and forevermore. Amen.