Finding Balance Between Work and Rest

“And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” -Mark 2:27-28

While examining this passages, let’s consider two other implicit principles.

First principle: “The sabbath was made for man”

Warren Wiersbe once wrote, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap!” Humans sometimes need a break. We often push ourselves past the point of exhaustion. We have work, household chores, and many other kinds of secular activities to which we are involved. God gave us a standard in Genesis 2:2 that we would be wise to follow. Even Jesus and his disciples went away for a while to rest. We aren’t helpful to anyone, even spiritually, if we are too hyperextended to function.

Second principle: “not man for the sabbath”

Though we need rest, we should not worship it. Sometimes even Christians make rest the focus of their life to the exclusion of worship, family obligations, and serving others in their immediate community of believers. Leisure time should not be our lord. It should not control us. It’s unfortunate that it often becomes an unspoken idol that is sought for more than God. This should not be so for two reasons. First, we cannot rest until we have first labored. Whether it is our secular jobs or life as a Christian, we can’t claim that we need to cease from work when it hasn’t even began. We are first to get busy working. Before we begin to murmur over our duties. We should remind ourselves that the original Mosaic statute was to work six days and rest only on the seventh. Many of us could be doing much more before entering into rest. Second, at the end of the day rest is not about us and we should not make it our chief desire. Rest is there so that we can appreciate God and better attend our duties to his glory. We often do not view it this way. This is evident in the fact that while vacationing on Sunday most people never try to find a church service to attend, or even have a private devotion on Sunday morning. This is shameful. The Bible doesn’t just say to be still. It says “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). Ultimately, the purpose of rest is praise.

Originally published June 2017

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