Twelve Days, Twelve Things to Ponder
The Bible says that God created the universe in six days, and that he rested on the seventh. Each of those days included "evening" and "morning" since God "separated light from darkness." Apparently, God enjoys times of work and times of rest, and thinks we should, too. Embracing this godly rhythm helps us to be more joyful in our work. More humble, too. It takes our eyes off of our ourselves and what we are doing. It gives us time to notice the goodness of the world around us. It forces us to admit that we can't take credit for very much of it. In this way, it lifts our eyes and our hearts in praise of the Creator. It suggests ways that we should put our work in its proper place.
This is very different from the way we tend to think of work and rest. We give our own meaning to them, and we hammer out our own obsessive rhythm, too. "Work" is a series of tasks, things to get done as quickly as possible, to make as much impact as possible in as little time as possible. "Work" is the hours assigned to focused activity. "Work" is a complete identity, something you are never done with, something from which you are never released. "Rest," on the other hand, is not actually rest but distraction, empty entertainment, brain candy. Or sheer collapse: empty, in-between.
True rest seems boring, so we substitute it for an unholy uninterrupted flow of work and play: work that doesn't feel like work, games that serve to keep us occupied. We hit the throttle while sitting idle, never really working, and never really resting. We expend effort while endlessly hunting for anything to take our minds off it. The resulting rhythm is both pounding and grating, erratic yet strangely predictable. It should be no surprise that it isn't satisfying.
But we have been thinking this way for a long time. In most work cultures it isn't about to change. For many people, the only way to escape it would be to find a different career. Even so, we can seek to understand work and rest according to God's plan. We can try to arrange our lives more and more in ways that follow God's rhythm, so that more and more we will truly work and truly rest in step with his lead.
God made us. He knows what is best for us. And he has told us what that is. Thank God for his wisdom, and follow his lead.
"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but 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. For 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 20:8
What Should I Read Today?
Any or all of the following: