My reaction to the word ‘work’ has usually been ‘ug’, unless it was for money or I was bored out of my mind. I think of the strain it has on my mind or body and all I can think is “I would rather be doing–” whatever it may be, such as watching a movie or writing or sleeping or whatever. And then Sunday comes and I’m like “Yes! A day of rest!” But more and more I’ve been becoming convicted as I read my Bible: this isn’t what God wants.
I’ve been reading the creation account in Genesis, and believe it or not this is one of the places I feel convicted. This is from chapter two:
“1Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
4This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
5Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
Before this, God has been very active, creating the universe and everything in it, down to the very last detail. In each ‘day’ He plans, He works, He surveys it to make sure it is good, and then He rests for the next day. For six days He did this until it was done, and He rested on the seventh day, and He set apart that day to always be a day of rest.
What do we learn about God? He works and He keeps the seventh day as a rest from all of it.
After we are told this the account seems to go backwards to give a bit more description. The plants have not yet grown because there has been no water and there is no one there to work the ground… Hold on, why does there have to be someone to work the ground? This is paradise, right? There shouldn’t be any work, there should only be an easy life and worshipping God, right? This is very often how we think of paradise, a place of eternal rest. But that is obviously not God’s intent for mankind. Adam was created to work. In the first chapter, God gives Adam and Eve this commission:
‘28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”’
That was the beginning purpose of mankind. To increase, subdue the earth and rule over it. And guess what, that requires work. Suddenly I’m asking myself: “Do I work six days a week?” If the answer is no, which it usually is, I know that I must not be doing something I should. God created me for this, not for laziness. Not only that, but He desires that the seventh day be kept holy. This is even mentioned in the Ten Commandments:
8“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20)
Did you catch that? In verse 9 He says, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work.” We are commanded to be working six days and then resting.
Now I know that not everyone’s rest day is Sunday, and technically the Sabbath is on Saturday. But I do think we ought to take a day each week to rest from our work and to remember God. Also, I know that not everyone can do physical labor—I don’t think everyone is called to be a gardener. But each of us are given a gift from the Lord, and He has placed us in situations in which we can be working. So let me just encourage you to work for Him in any way you can, for when you do that you can truly honor the day of rest.
Have a blessed week!
“23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” ~Colossians 3
‘23One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
25He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”
27Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”’ ~Mark 2