Take a Break

If you’re like most people, I imagine every morning you have the same discussion with yourself when you wake up:

Is it time to get up already?

Maybe just five more minutes.

I really need to get up.

I’m so tired. Another minute.

I need to go to work.

I don’t want to go to work.

Fine, ok. I’ll get up.


And then you’re late for work!


Sound familiar? Hopefully not, but I know there are lots of people who have variations of this conversation every day they have to go to work.

Work is a necessity for everyone who isn’t a trust fund kid – and that’s most of us. But work can also be kind of a drag sometimes. The question is, why? A lot of us might think about bosses we don’t like, or rude coworkers, or how what we’re doing isn’t as exciting as we thought it would be. Maybe you’ve been working so long in one field you’re afraid of changing fields or moving into a different position. Whatever it is, I can promise you this: work was never supposed to be this way.

In Genesis 1:26, God makes humanity in His image. We just don’t have the space here to dig all the way into what “made in His image” means, but one good way (though not the only way!) to think about it is to see “image” here like a representative. Man and woman in the garden were supposed to be God’s representatives on earth. Every representative has a purpose, so why did God place them there? Verse 28 tells us they are to “fill the earth and rule over it.” What does that look like? Genesis 2:5 gives us more details,

… when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground….

Tilling the ground, which means working the ground, was an essential part of creation, not a consequence of sin. That means God created a good world and created humanity to work with Him to make that good world even better, to help that good world flourish! Now that sounds like work worth waking up early for!

It was only after the curse of sin in Genesis 3 that work became tedious and joyless. Work that honors God is a good thing – that was the type of work God built into the fabric of creation. But work that doesn’t honor God becomes oppressive either to ourselves or those who work for us, or both. Overwork fits into this category as well; when we overwork it’s like enslaving ourselves. Working too much can also be a sign that we are no longer trusting in God’s provision but our own.

But trusting God and taking time to enjoy His provision were part of creation from the start. Garrett made this point yesterday and he’s right: God didn’t rest on the seventh day because He was tired, He rested so He could enjoy His marvelous creation with His children. Sabbath rest was built into the fabric of creation, too, just like work that honors God. When we rest, it doesn’t mean extra vacation time – as nice as that sounds. It means we take the time to enjoy God’s amazing provision – and the best way to do that is together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, sharing with one another all the good things God has blessed us with. For the Israelites, the Sabbath was also a time to remember God’s provision when He brought them out of the oppression of slavery and into His good provision (Deuteronomy 5:15).

One final thought about how we should rest: Jesus taught us what that looked like Matthew 11:28—12:14. In 11:28-30 Jesus invites people to come to Him and offers them rest. The very beginning of chapter 12 begins on a Sabbath day. I think this is no coincidence: Matthew wants his readers to see how Jesus offers rest, and what better day to think about godly rest than the Sabbath? As Jesus and the disciples walk through grain fields they get hungry and pick some of the grain to eat. Afterwards, in a synagogue Jesus heals a man whose hand had been withered and useless for who knows how long. In both stories, people who are near Jesus find rest from some form of oppression: the disciples from hunger, and the man from helplessness. For Jesus, that’s what the Sabbath was supposed to be about – to enjoy the good things God gives us and to bring rest and restoration to those who need it. Even though we don’t observe the Sabbath, if we aren’t resting and restoring, we’re missing out. 

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