I grew up with Sunday Blue Laws. Most stores and businesses closed, and construction work ceased on Sundays so the American workforce could rest. Slowly, Sunday became like every other day. Stores opened, kid’s sports teams competed, and families were drawn hither and yon. Today some malls issue hefty fines to stores that won’t open on Sundays.
Then came COVID-19. Businesses and playgrounds stilled, not for one day, but for months on end. Reviewing the Lord’s commandments on taking a Sabbath rest, I thought of the quarantine and wondered if God allowed the shut-down to get us off of the hamster wheel. The connection between rest, faith, and holiness struck me anew.
Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, “You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy. Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. …”” (Exodus 31:12-15, italics added).
Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest” (Exodus 34:21).
How many times have you promised yourself you’ll rest after you finish what you’re working on, only to pick up something else? The movie, Van Gogh, a Stroke of Genius reminded me that rest and balance matter in life.
The Restless Artist
One of my favorite artists, Vincent Van Gogh, lived out of balance. Depleted, exhausted, and lonely, he walked into one of his favorite fields for painting and put a bullet through his chest. He died a couple of days later at age 37.
In the last months of his life, he painted two to three paintings a day. I can imagine him reasoning, I must finish this one before the light changes, or, I can’t stop until I get this idea on canvas. I wonder how his life would have been different if he’d taken a day off and trusted God to bring back his motivation and ideas after his rest.
God’s commandments are not burdensome, but freeing. It takes faith to enter rest by abiding in Him throughout the day. It takes faith to set aside one whole day from our regular work to rest and connect with Him.
Focused on “To Do” or “Done”
What if we celebrated our “Done” lists instead of worrying over our “To do” lists? What if we gave thanks for each day’s labor instead of bemoaning what was unfinished? And what if we made our lists from God’s perspective? For example, instead seeing diaper changes as interruptions to progress what if we saw them as ways to instill trust and security in our child.
“To do” lists may drive us, but “Done” lists empower us. They generate gratitude and follow the Creator’s example of reviewing each day’s work with satisfaction.
Learning that I work for God and am only responsible for the part He gives me takes faith. Remembering that my real work is to trust Him takes practice. Taking breaks when there is unfinished business shows trust.Remembering that my real work is to #trust God takes practice. Taking breaks when there is unfinished business shows #faith. Click To Tweet
The Work God Approves
The Scriptures say to make every effort to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:11). The work of rest is faith (Jn. 6:29). While on earth, Jesus asked this stirring question, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). May we be found doing the work of rest—living by faith—when He comes for us.
For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:10 NIV).
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- Done! Check out our updated website at LighthouseMinistriesNC.org.
- My daughter Ginny and I will be offering separate evening Bible studies for women this fall. Mine will be a Tuesday online study of Little Women, Big God. Contact me to sign up or learn more.
- To learn more on how to balance rest with work: Give Yourself a Break covers ten areas that rob our rest. Give Yourself a Break from the Pressure to Perform and Work e-book addresses the areas of performance and work.