Opinion

And on that seventh day...

By Riverine Herald

IN TODAY’S world we like to work.

Not that we would ever openly admit that out loud to anyone, but the most common response I hear when asked how we are going is ‘busy.’

This suggests almost a badge of honour in being flat out.

Working hard has become a virtue.

We then give ourselves permission to play hard.

Now I don’t want to head down the line of determining the set amount of work hours we should all do, nor what should be done in our time off.

However, I do think it is valuable for us to consider the purpose of resting from work.

Work is an important reality of life, even God works in the Bible, that provides our necessities, gives us a sense of purpose and an outlet for our skills and creativity.

What then is the purpose of rest?

I think this is different than finding balance.

Balance is about organising our necessities and priorities.

Rest on the other hand is about honouring our design.

We were made to rest.

Not all the time, but regularly.

Following are some ideas of rest gleaned from the Bible.

We rest to enjoy the results of our work. At the beginning of the Bible in creation God works for six days and then rests on the seventh declaring what he had done ‘very good’ — this would become the pattern for the Jewish week. We feel this principle when we get home at the end of day when you have really accomplished something. That achievement is actually refreshing even when the work is hard.

We rest together. In Exodus 20 when the pattern of rest was instituted, all were to rest at the same time.

It was for everyone and to be done together.

Rest is not always about solitude, as we are relational beings.

Quality time spent with family and friends is enriching.

We rest to recover. Work expends our physical and often emotional energy so we need to allow our bodies and minds to rejuvenate.

This allows us to then manage our actions and emotions in ways that enhance life.

We rest to worship. This is by far the most prominent theme in the Bible.

God wants to provide rest for our souls.

The response to his blessing and his rescue is today all about honouring what he has done for us in Jesus.

Which is the aspect of rest that is really needed in your life at the moment.

Do you need to stop every now and again so you can actually enjoy what you have done and what God has provided in the world around you?

Do you need to stop so you can be with the people God has put around you?

Is it sleep and recovery you need more of?

Perhaps you have forgotten the one who has blessed you with all your gifts, skills and abilities to work.

Do you need to return to worship the God who can provide rest for your soul?

Tim Bowles

Chaplain,

Moama Anglican Grammar