A time for physical rest-God’s model for a good work-rest balance
by beatrice ofwona
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As human beings, we are all at different stages in life- young, old, jobless or in school, working in offices, factories or self employed. Whatever it is that we are engaged in, there does come a time for physical rest. God desires that we rest and is Himself seen observing the same after creation where on the seventh day, He takes a rest. Genesis 2:2-3 expounds-‘By the seventh day, God had finished the work He had been doing so on the seventh day He rested. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.’
Further in Leviticus 25, God presents a modeling Scripture for a Sabbath rest for the land for the children of Israel whereby they were to leave it untilled.
Scripture gives the Word of God in its most complete state. To this end therefore we see that God Himself in the book of Genesis had a work-rest model that fitted perfectly well together.
Firstly we see that He planned His work well. On days 1 to 3 He concentrated on creation of light, water, sky, land and vegetation. On Days 4-6 He created the luminaries in the expanse of the skies, fish, birds and beasts of the land. From this we observe a formless world given form on days 1 to 3 to support the creatures that would follow on days 4 to 6. God is a planner and He planned creation so meticulously that the creatures only came after the formless void had been formed. Likewise we should learn from our Master planner on how to plan our lives and our schedules so that we know what to do before the other. In the same way we should also plan our days and know what we intend to accomplish in the new day that the Lord has made for us for always, what we do earlier, will have other things depending on them for their own fruition.
Secondly is to periodically evaluate our work. God noted and appreciated the goodness in the work He had done right from the beginning. After speaking light into existence in Genesis 1:3, He saw that it was good in 1:4; this is repeated severally each time He completed a task in Genesis 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, 1:21 and 1:31. This repetition places emphasis on the good works that God did but also gives us a pointer of His appreciation of what He was doing. Similarly, we must be reminded that for us to see, we must look. God must have looked back at His work and seen that it was good. Do we ourselves take the time to evaluate what we are doing? Despite being sovereign and a perfect God, He took the time to appreciate His own work. Evaluation helps us see our strengths and weaknesses, then consequently know what to improve on or what to capitalize on.
Thirdly is the reminder that the result of well planned and periodically evaluated work is a well deserved and enjoyable rest. God Himself created only for the six days. Even before He placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, He ensured that all that he would need was within reach and that he would have no need to call the on the LORD for anything, so that when He decided to rest on the seventh day, He truly was serious about resting.. Good work is followed by a deserved rest and how well one works will determine how one rests.
If we are the type of people who still get calls from the office when we are on leave then we do not know how to rest. God’s work model was perfect and it showed us that if we are to prosper, then we must be willing to plan well. And that if we are to be healthy then we must be ready to rest enough.
God desires that we be motivated for life. He does not see us as other men see us but rather knows the secrets of our hearts. He therefore understands how we are wired and how best we can succeed in life. 1Samuel 16:7 explains –‘But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
May the LORD help us to take the time to plan our activities wisely and do them as He did and continues to do. At creation He presented us with the perfect model that we, as His image-bearers, could adopt. The seeds of the jubilee of Leviticus 25 were planted in the creation story of Genesis . In Leviticus 25, God is taking us back to His Genesis model.
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