Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Balancing our Time Between Work and Rest

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  –Psalm 91:1, 2 (KJV)

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.  –Proverbs 6:6-8 (KJV)

In the midst of our hectic and fast-paced lives, one of the most effective strategies we can employ is to get some rest.  Rest is not laziness.  There is a difference between what the Bible refers to as slothfulness and rest.  The former is a deliberate effort to avoid work and productivity.  The book of Proverbs calls a person who fits this description a “sluggard.” This one sleeps during planting season, lounges about all summer, and then snoozes a little more during harvest time.  When the cold and unforgiving winds of winter set in, the sluggard finds he is starving and wonders how it happened.  Proverbs 6:6 commands such an idle person to spend some time observing the ant.  The tiny insect has no master, yet it is always working, laboring, and preparing for winter.  Many people in the world today would do well to take such humble lessons to heart about acquiring such a solid work ethic.

Rest, on the other hand, is rejuvenation that the important matters involved with productivity can continue.  Our culture seems to reward those who work themselves to death.  We refer to someone who works all the time as a “workaholic.” I am not sure when this word came about, but it is applicable to many a person who works to the detriment of their health, family relationships, and devotion to God.  This is not what Solomon had in mind either when he instructed the sluggard to go and observe the ways of the ant.  Hard and honest work must be balanced between devotion to God, family, and one’s own health, which will involve taking time to rest. 

These days I am learning that when 9:00 PM or so rolls around that I need to start winding down my day.  If I am in bed by 9:30 or 10:00 PM this will allow me the proper rest I need to begin my day at 5:00 AM.  I can then tackle the new day with a body and mind rested and ready for the challenges that lie ahead.  How hard are you pushing yourself?  Are you pushing yourself enough?  The Lord will provide wisdom for knowing how hard to work and how much to rest.  Honest work honors God, yet so does adequate rest.

Rest also involves spending time with family, pursuit of a hobby, and just being outside enjoying the beauty of God’s creation.  We wonder how all this can fall into place.  Jesus reminded us in Matthew 6:33 to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto us.  Place Christ first in our lives and everything else will line up in its proper place. 

Be encouraged today and trust God for a great work in your life.

God bless you today.