“There is nothing better for a man or woman then to eat, drink, and enjoy their work. I have seen that even this is from God's hand, because who can eat and who can enjoy life apart from Him?” “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God's glory.”
If you haven’t already, you should re-read those two sentences. It would be natural for you to think that those are my words since I am writing this devotion, but they are not. The first statement is from the Old Testament book, Ecclesiastes. This excerpt, from chapter 2 verse 24, is written by the wisest man that ever lived, King Solomon. The second is quoted from the Apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians in chapter 10 verse 31. Just in case you are thinking that Paul and Solomon are prescribing carefree living, allow me to explain how both are calling us to something much more fulfilling.
Solomon is saying that in both rest and work we should find enjoyment, while Paul is saying that God is glorified in both. From the early pages of the Bible, a God-ordained rhythm of work and rest can be seen. The most obvious example being a pattern practiced by God in creation. For six days he labored in creativity, manufacturing, and instructing, and then on the seventh day, He rested. And in the grand story of God's redemption of people, Jesus’ fulfilling and satisfying work in His life, death, and resurrection secure an eternal rest for not only himself but also for all those who have faith in Him.
At HealthKeeperz, we speak much of glorifying God in our day to day work. But with Labor Day upon us, I thought that we should be reminded that God is also glorified in our rest. If you are like most other Americans and me, we rarely rest well at times or on the days given for rest. Now I won't try to define what it means to rest because cutting the grass on Saturday may be enjoyable and even therapeutic for me, but it may be toil for the guy who runs a landscaping company! The only point I want to stress is that we must take our rest. Some will plan a trip to the beach, enjoy the first day of hunting season, or plan the summers last barbecue. Whatever we do, it’s a great time to “rest more than we are.” And I certainly don't mean we should plan trips to the beach every weekend or barbecues every evening, but we should protect the times given in our lives for resting.
Rest is restorative. That means it brings healing. It’s a break from labor and striving, and this is partly why it’s an essential feature of the sacred rest spoken of in the Bible. Rest is peace-giving. So that means rest requires a safe place. In saying this, I don't mean we always need alone time or that rest can only happen in the seclusion from others. When God gave the commandment to have a day set apart unto Him, he gave that command to a community of people, not to an individual. So although sometimes we do need a moment for ourselves, the most fulfilling, satisfying, restorative, and peace-giving rest will come when we are resting with those dearest to us in a way that we all enjoy.
So, guard your rest, take your rest, and bring others to rest with you. Not only on holidays like Labor Day but every week. Lead those around you in God-glorifying rest.
May your rest be sweet!
Yours in Christ,
Chaplain James Chavis