Because we celebrate Labor Day this month, I wanted to write a word of encouragement regarding God’s gift of work to mankind. Work is not, as many mistakenly believe, a result of the curse. Before Adam and Eve sinned and rebelled against God, they were given the great gift of work. As image-bearers of God, they were called to co-labor with the Lord to expand the cause of His Kingdom, for His glory, and for the flourishing of all mankind. Sadly, as a result of their sin, work was cursed with thorns and thistles and became much harder to perform than it was originally intended.
God Rested on the Seventh Day
“The heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And he blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2:1-3).
In the beginning God created everything in the heavens and on earth; when He finished the work of creation in six days, He crowned it by resting on the seventh day. Now, don’t think that God actually stopped working. Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17). If God ever stopped working, everything would stop working!
Setting the pattern
God did not rest on the seventh day because He needed to recharge; rather, God was setting forth His pattern and His plan for our earthly lives. At the same time, He was providing us with a picture of our eternal rest to come. It is important to understand what God did to that one day of every week: He blessed it and made it holy. The first thing God made holy was not a person or a place; it was a day. God set that day aside so that we would set it aside to rest from all our work, with the goal of developing our covenant relationship with Him. It is God’s goal that we would see Sunday as a day of delight, not duty . . . a day of devotion, not drudgery. God wants us to come into His house for corporate worship to be refreshed, recharged, and renewed in our relationship with Him.
Communion with God and His family of faith will return multiple rewards to us. Coming into the Lord’s house will be as good for our body as it is for our soul. God has made it perfectly clear that He can do more for us in our six days of work than we can do for ourselves with seven. We demonstrate that we are trusting in Him when we put our doing down and come into the Lord’s house each week for a time of worship.
Trusting in Jesus is the cosmic cure for worry, doubt, anxiety, and frustration over your circumstances, both on and off the job. Jesus is in complete control of everything in our lives, and we demonstrate our understanding of this truth when we cease from business and all our busyness one day each week.
Don’t be misled by those who say it is better to burn out than rust out. That simply isn’t true! Overworking and underworking are both to be avoided because they are roadblocks to our relationship with Jesus, which is why we are to follow His pattern of work and rest. Now it matters not to God whether our pattern is six days of work and one day of rest, five days of work and two days of rest, four days of work and three days of rest, or any other combination. It is not the formula that matters, but rather, it is our focus: Setting our heart, soul, mind and strength totally on Jesus!
After spending time alone with our Lord, there is no activity under heaven that is more important than spending time in worship with our brothers and sisters in the faith. This is where our Lord does some of His best work within us. This is one of the primary reasons we have been given all the “one another” commands in the Bible, such as love one another, pray for one another, encourage one another, forgive one another, and so many more.
Inasmuch as we have been saved individually, we have been saved to community. We are not to forsake coming together with the people of God to praise His mighty name with thanksgiving in joyful dependence upon Jesus alone. We are to look to Him, lean on Him and learn from Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light, and each week we will testify to this powerful biblical truth: The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
God is not only the Creator of all things, He is the Sustainer of all things too. God made it clear that there is no better way for us to be sustained in our service to Him than to set aside one day each week to rest in our redemption. Think about it this way: If the God of the universe — who is never tired, never diminished, never weakened, and never weary — rested one day in seven, don’t you think we, who frequently grow weary and exhausted, should do the same?
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
Dr. Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach (www.thecrosscc.org). He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.
For more articles by Dr. Tommy Boland, visit goodnewsfl.org/tommy-boland.