One of the main ways we see in today’s society that we have made an idol out of work, or what we get from work, is in our inability to take a day to rest. And yet God has knitted the idea of rest into the fabric of the universe. This is plainly seen in Genesis 2:1-2

Thus 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. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Now notice what is repeated here three times. It is the idea of the seventh day.[1] God connected this seventh day with rest and then commanded his people to take this day as a day of rest. This day of rest is commanded all through out the Old Testament. The Sabbath Day it is actually saying something very theologically explosive. Notice the point that is made in Deuteronomy 5:6-12

12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day. Deuteronomy 5:6-12

In Deuteronomy 5 the Sabbath is re-enactment of the Exodus from Egypt. It is a reminder of God’s saving activity in saving them from slavery. It is saying to them “You are no longer slaves but free!” It is the same with us, taking a Sabbath is a “declaration of your freedom.”[2] When you rest you are saying to your work, your school’s demands, your family and even your own insecurity “I am not your slave I am free!” Conversely, if you cannot rest you are a slave, you aren’t free, because “a person is only free when they can limit their activities.”[3] Therefore when you rest God is preaching the gospel to you. He is reminding you that you are free in every sense that matters.

But he is also preaching the gospel to you in another way when you rest. When you are resting what is happening in the universe? The answer is everything. Galaxies are being formed, stars are shining their light, and planets are spinning. While you rested the earth still rotated on its axis as it traveled through space around the sun. While you rested people went to work, fell in love, created art and ate. While you rested your industry that you work in kept moving and even your company that you worked for kept moving forward. Who was doing all this while you rested? God. While you and I rest, while you and I sleep God, in his grace, is preaching the gospel to you. He is saying you to and I “I am sovereign. I am in control. You can sleep or watch your reruns of Friends and I will be holding up all of creation without any of your help.” When you and I rest God is preaching to us that we are not the centre of the universe, we are not indispensable but he is.

When was the last time you let Jesus preach the gospel to you by resting?

You may also like:

The Two Deadly Pitfalls In Our Thinking About Work

The Most Important Thing You Can Know About Your Work

If There is no God is Work Meaningful?

[1] Kenneth A. Matthews, The New American Commentary: Genesis 1- 11:26, 177

[2] Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work, 236

[3] Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics the Doctrine of Creation: The Creator and His Creature (Church Dogmatics) III.3 , 215

[4] D.H Jensen, Responsive Labor: A Theology of Work, 11

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