Text Size: Zoom In

Work and Rest

Labor Day weekend marks the symbolic end of summer, back to school, back yard barbecues, and the beginning of the college and professional football season.

This year some of us might also get a chance to catch a few holes of the rain-delayed end of the PGA Deutsche Bank Championship Golf tournament, or see if 17-year-old Melanie Oudin can keep the momentum going in her emotion filled victories over Elena Dementieva and Maria Sharapova in US Open Tennis.

All this, on a holiday meant to honor organized labor and the important role of unions in our national history.

Labor Day may be the one holiday in the year where many of us would rather think about just about anything other than the intended meaning of the day. Yet unions, for all of their faults, excesses, and current unpopularity, have played an important role in two of the most important parts of our life: work and rest.

The fact that the mention of unions tends to polarize us confirms a theme that begins in the first pages of the Bible. From the days of our eviction from the garden, thorns in the field, marital conflict, and multiplied pain in childbirth signaled the beginning of beefs between workers and owners.

The result is that yet today workers and managers are equally inclined to take advantage of the other.

The Bible’s first picture of God is that of a Worker who does good work for six days and rests on the seventh.

One of its first pictures of us is of workers who traded our God-given rhythm of meaningful work and rest for seven days of trouble.

Yet as both Testaments show, our work and our rest still both matter to God. As our Provider, he cares about the way we treat the land that produces our bread… and how we work as labor and management…for one another.

The New Testament makes this point by using the case study of the worst job: being an economic servant to a cruel self-centered owner.

Yet even in a bad job, those slaves who had no opportunity for freedom were encouraged to do good work—as if they were working for, trusting, and resting in God their Owner and Provider (Eph 6:5-8; Col 3:22-25).

Managers and owners who claimed to be followers of Christ received equally wise counsel. They were to treat their workers as brothers and sisters, while recognizing that they themselves were accountable to God. (Eph 6:9; Col 4:1)

This has not changed. How we work and rest still matters to God. And because of our beefs with Him, both management and labor are necessary– though difficult– facts of life.

Am fortunate. Don’t have to show up for work today… except here at the house… where the list of to-dos seems to be getting longer as I sit … and think… 1. Clean the barbecue. 2. Clean-up the mess in my work room. 3. Mow the yard. 4. Put on the fertilizer that should have gone on July 4. 5. Wash the truck. 6. Fix the light in the downstairs hall. 7. Sort and pay the bills. 8. Sweep the garage. 9. Get some exercise. 10. Enjoy the day off :-)…

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+33 rating, 34 votes)

29 Responses to “Work and Rest”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Wow, Mart, you have covered a great deal of territory. From resting from our work to Unions and even slavery.

    When Matt began his workout routine here at the house, he placed himself under the strain of doing it 7 day a week.

    At this point in his recovery he believed if he worked hard enough he would overcome his disabilities and return to normal.

    After several months of non stop rigorous exercise. I was able to convince Matt of taking off at least Sunday, in order to rest. He liked that so well, we adopted the concept of taking the weekend off. And so this is still his schedule.

    He needed it, I needed it.

    I have almost always worked under the protection of unions. It is a tremendous story. I don’t think we have the space here for the epic tale. Let me say that working for both union and non-union was very different.

    When I worked in power plant maintainence as a welder, I worked 7 days a week 10 to 16 hours a day. If I didn’t like the schedule I could always quit. That was and is the attitude of the Electric utility company that owns and operates the power plant. It was union, IBEW.

    When I worked in the coal mines underground as a maintainence worker, it started out as a 5 day week with weekends off. This changed with contract concessions. Slowly over time, the 40 hour week gave way to a 7 day a week schedule with out options of not working. This was union UMWA.

    For thoes of you who worked hard labor, I need not explain how non stop work effects you. Your body needs rest as well as your mind. God knew this and placed the concept of resting on the 7th day at the very beginning of creation. As God does so well, He Himself took off the 7th day to rest and so shown us the way, by way of example.

    There is a lot more to discuss in these topics. But since this is just another work day for Matt and I, I will have to save my further discussion for later.

  2. foreverblessed says:

    If you are writing about daily work, then the labour day is a day of rest.
    In europe the labour day is on the first of May.
    Labour day is a contradiction, it should be called: enjoy the rest day.

    Like my job is being a housewife. The work is always around you. You cannot go home and rest, because the work is at home.
    Sometimes it makes me feel down. All the dust I did clean comes again. All the dirty clothes that were washed and become dirty again. I know, it is like looking at the glass always being half empty.
    Especially when the family has time off and is at home, there is much more work for me to do, having all the lunches dinners, drinking tea.

    For me it is my goal to have a chage of mind: see the glass as half full: see all the things you have done.
    Enjoy serving the family, do not see it as work, but as a service.
    While serving, praising God. But I have to get myself to do that.

  3. poohpity says:

    The U.S. Department of Labor states, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

    Several in my family have been members of I.B.E.W they have worked on the majority of the big power lines that carry power all over this country and my father even worked in Germany during his stint with the US Army. I have watched over the years the changes in these unions and how the workers did less work but yet wanted more money. I believe it has changed like everything else in recent history more money for less product and even less quality.

    For the housewives even God made a provision when Israel was to gather double the amount of manna the day before the Sabbath so that all could rest. No cooking, laundry or anything but to do good for someone which Jesus showed how far they had taken that rest to extremes (legalism).

    Shows how we can take something beautiful and turn it around to fit our own purposes which distorts the original intention.

  4. rokdude5 says:

    I guess God foreknew that I was going to be a “softie”. He place me in a time where there is electricity at my finger tips, couple of vehicles in my home, and labor laws to protect me and my family.

    I cant really appreciate living in a time (which was not too long ago) without such “conveniences”. There was a time I could have work 6 1/2 or 7 days a week, 18 hours a day. I could have been a slave with no or little say in what I do in a day.

    If youre a woman back then, aside from begging or prostitution, working outside of the home wasnt a viable option.

    I also praise God that I am able to work. I cant imagine living in a time trying to exist with a major disability. For me, Labor Day is a day to reflect how blessed I am. “RJ”
    PS, Mart, I found that my “HoneyDo’s” got shorter when we stopped getting home improvement magazines.

  5. wretch-like-me says:

    The first thought I had while reading today’s topic was a reflection about our ‘natural tendency’ to pervert good things into sinful, slovenly, self-serving schemes.

    Every single ‘good’ gift of God has been twisted by us into tarnished and corrupt tools. It seems that even our best efforts quickly become someone’s new con for getting rich on someone else’s labor.

    I know the Labor Unions were initially a tremendous blessing. Now, it would seem they have traded their benefit in for a burden to both industry and labor.

    Bureaucracy with a capital ‘B’ seems to me to have invaded both sides of the equation whether it’s industry, government, or any organization (profit, non profit, secular, religious).

    Speaking of which, have any of you noted the ‘flap’ over former czar Van Jones? If not, suggest you view Glenn Beck on FoxNews. I cant say that I like his presentation; however, I do agree with what he says.

    Americans (and the world for that matter)needs to wakeup. “…he who has ears, hear…”


  6. poohpity says:

    I thought I would just bust out laughing when you stated, “The honey-do’s got shorter when you stopped getting home improvement magazines”. It seems we are flooded with self improvement, home improvement and all the other sources to make things better and no one picks up the bible to make them a better person. Funny how things work isn’t it.

  7. xrgarza says:

    I am enjoying my time off, however I am torn by my love of my current job, and my past.

    I used to work for the Intel Corp when I was first employed I was given six weeks of paid time off each year, not to mention by the time that I left I was only working three and four day a week. In addition to that every seven years I was given an eight-week sabbatical fully compensated that I had to take all at once and I could add additional time to it if I desired. Made it very nice when my kids graduated from hi-school the same year. I took a three-month paid vacation and we visited family that they had never met before.

    Today as a truck driver I love my job, but I now work six days a week and I get only a week and a half off each year in addition to my paid holidays, which I so look forward to.
    But the Lord said that He would meet my every need and never give me more than I can handle. Praise God!


  8. SFDBWV says:

    Frank, We too enjoy Glenn Beck.

    One of the things I have learned over life is that the Government lies to us and we are misled and lied to by the press.

    Isn’t it interesting that Al Gore owns a news service.

    I stated here a post or so ago that people are controled by information and fear. Just watch the news.

    We, here in our home, are hoping and praying for Christ to return soon. For this world is a mess.

  9. pegramsdell says:

    And staying away from Lowes or Home Depot??? lol…
    Can get a lot of ideas from there.

  10. xrgarza says:

    SFDBWV: Wow! Are you serious when you say, “We, here in our home, are hoping and praying for Christ to return soon for this world is a mess?”

    First of all I as much as I enjoy the local news, and Glen Beck is awesome I try so hard not to feed on them. It’s like spiritual junk food.

    Abraham when God told him the He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah He pleaded with God several times if it were for so many righteous men would you still destroy these towns. Yes we need to be on our knees but we need to be praying like Abraham did pleading for mercy.


  11. poohpity says:

    I do not think that Christ’s return is such a bad thing but there are many who are not saved as of yet so a return at this time may leave many without a home to go to. I can understand that in some homes their hope is hanging on by threads and they feel like they may want to go home but there are many more who hope to bring more to the kingdom before that time comes.

    I understand Steve that what you have to watch everyday can be heartbreaking to say the least. I will be in prayer for you to have your strength and joy rekindled. When we watch as our children go through such struggles to just survive it can be draining and we beg for rest and it may seem slow in coming but God in His infinite wisdom sees your struggle and is so close to you in this time. I bet it would be nice just to have some time away to gather up your strength to finish this journey. You are doing such a great job of taking care of Matt and I know that one day you will receive rest and be refreshed because you sure deserve it. My hat is off to you because you are a great dad, husband and follower of Jesus Christ which is your life.

  12. BobbiLee says:

    Was thinking the other day that instead of celebrating Labor Day, because of the economy, maybe we should be praying for the almost ten percent of folks NOT laboring or not even having the opportunity to labor.

    As for “honey do’s”. . . my list changed years ago to honey don’ts. :-) Then again perhaps it should be changed to honey-never-mind-because-you-won’t-do-it-anyway list.

  13. SFDBWV says:

    Xavier, Yes I am very serious. In 2 Timothy 3:1 Paul says “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” 3:13 “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 3:5,7 ” Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof;” and “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    I enjoy seeing the truth recognized by anyone. So I enjoy some of the Glenn Beck interviews and discussions. Even though he is a Mormon and we may disagree theologicaly, he gets his politics right.

    Yes I know there will be an entire world filled with people who are not saved, when the rapture occurs. But according to the scripture He will not return until the fullness of the Gentile has occured. So that to me means that there is a number and only God knows it. When that last soul comes before the altar and accepts Christ….” For the Lord Himself shall desend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 16,17.

    You bet we are looking forward to that hour.

  14. SFDBWV says:

    Xavier, don’t be misled, Abraham wasn’t concerned with the evil people of Sodom and Gomorrah, he was concerned for his nephew Lot. Abraham was trying to convince God not to destroy these cities so as to keep Lot safe from the coming destruction.

    Did you notice that God did in fact destroy both cities, after saying if He found even ten righteous men He would spare the cities? Evidently there were none to be found. He did spare Zoar because Lot went there to hide. But Lot didn’t trust what the angels had told him so he left there and hid in the mountains. Zoar was still spared.

    All of scripture points to the fact that the world will continue to get worse and more evil. It is easy to see this is true.

    In the news or in the world around me, the attitude of people are getting darker and darker. When do you ever remember children coming to school and killing indiscriminately? Or evil anti-christian people blowing themselves up and anyone else they can kill, with them? How much more greed can be seen to say, that is enough? Evil seems to prosper and good seems to be a matter of weakness. Lawyers and poltical spin-doctors have confused people to a point where it is getting more and more impossible to know right from wrong. I can go on, if necessary.

    Churches are becoming anything but Christian. Read Christ’s comments concerning the churches in Revelation and ask yourself what best represents todays churches?

    Yes, I say, come Lord Jesus, before there is not found in all the earth ten righteous men. as it were in Sodom and Gomorrah.

  15. foreverblessed says:

    6 days work 1 day rest.
    6000 years for the “work” of men
    1000 years for a rest for the earth, when Christ will reign. (Revelation 20)

    But let Christ now reign in our hearts, that no matter how terrible the world looks around us, His peace is dwelling in us.

    I used to sigh for the coming of Christ.
    Now I say, Jesus, come in my heart.
    I cannot do anything about the world, God is the director of it all,and He started His Kingdom like a seed. A small mustard seed.
    Lets be part of that small beginning.

  16. pegramsdell says:

    “People get ready, Jesus is coming….soon we’ll be going home”……Come Lord Jesus, Come.
    I’m sooooo ready. :)

  17. samjw says:

    I had a good rest on Labor day, playing tennis with my son. Now my legs are so painful. My recent labor is about sending resumes for jobs, writing up Dissertation for PhD, and checking my balance for this month. I do not know whether searching God’s will belongs labor or rest. But, it is a good time for being lazy with my labor.

    In workplace, we may forget God’s direction. Mostly I easily forgot God’s message given by my pastor on Sunday and returned a worldly thought. This routine needs to be broken. Last night, I had a spiritual war in my dream; it may happen because I have been searching jobs desperately with my own efforts.

    In the dream, I got a weird teaching position; I have to work as a slave and must teach almost 24 hours, very early in the morning like 4 am. Workers including me were sitting in a room filled with so many snakes. I could not resist. I should also go to some factory where many people work like slaves as commanded by a few powerful forces. I somehow got out the place. The same situation was given later. This time, my wife and son were with me. I clearly realized that the first dream is about the world I have been associated with. For the second, I asked God for my family and myself to win over the evil. That was the ONLY hope I could have in the dream: Only with Our savior, Jesus Christ.

    During our labor, we still need to follow Him too. During the rest, we should praise Him with all our hearts. I should have praised Him with all my heart yesterday. I love God and Thank God.

  18. xrgarza says:

    SFDBWV, I couldn’t agree with you more when I first read your response I thought you were coming from the perspective of “we’re doomed just hurry and come”

    When I was a child my family and I were Catholics until I was about ten. My prayer for the next two years was Lord please come before I reach the age of accountability, because I knew then that I did not have what it would take to get to heaven.

    I know that Abraham was looking out for Lot because the two towns were doomed and God had told Abraham I’m going to destroy them now. I don’t think that we are there yet, we are close but there is still a lot of work to be done. And yes His return won’t happen until the fullness of the Gentile has occurred however there is no magic wand nor should we go and hide and wait for this to take place.

    The Bible says that if we know what is right and we don’t do it, then it’s sin. The battle is not over and we have a lot of work to do, we can’t just surrender because we think that the time of His return is almost here.

    PS: I had no idea that Glen Beck was a Mormon, I have nothing against that, as a matter of fact I wanted Mitt Romney to win the presidency I had many Christians come at me with “but he’s not a Christian” I would rather have a man with integrity in the white house than a Christian like Bill Clinton in the white house anytime.

    God Bless you SFDBWV

  19. jody says:

    I was compelled to respond as I thought of the stay-at-home mom, trying to find peace and rest while trying to serve her family as Christ asks us to do (a 24hr a day job.)

    I am a full-time mom and have a full-time job. I thought I was figuring it all out until I took a promotion that unbalanced my life completely. Eventually I was told by my doctor to take a 3 month holiday – I had finally reached the point of burn out. (Thanks to good benefits and a good union, I was payed in full the whole time.)

    Interestingly, as I look back now, I saw it coming and part of me welcomed the doctor directed “holiday” (as one of my co-workers called it.) I felt like a spiritual desert. In my work (at home and out of home), I had failed to appreciate the value of rest, of taking a spiritual/mental/physical time out and felt guilty for even contemplating it. Then it came to me…even Jesus took a rest, all by himself, after preaching and serving others. I kept hearing in my head “Be still and know that I am God.” He was giving me permission and I was fighting it. So after spending a month and a half of that time off, spinning my wheels trying to figure things out, I finally gave it all to God.

    I learned along this journey that I was letting guilt get into the way of my growth. By not taking time out for myself to grow mentally, physically and spiritually I put myself in a position where I almost could not take of anyone. Jesus knew this and rested even though He knew his days were numbered. I chose to learn from Him, release the guilt and take time out for myself.

    To get to the point, I finally did rest mentally, physically and worked to grown spiritually. In the end He had a plan because the job I took as the promotion, fell through. My old job came up and I asked for a voluntary demotion and was successful. I also let my husband take on some of the responsibilities (operative word being “let” because we often take over.) Now when my kids ask me to sit and read books, watch TV, put on fake finger nails, I look back at the sink full of dishes, the dirty floor and the work related reading and think…..they can wait… because in the end, I want my tombstone to say “She was a loving mother and wife who walked with faith.”

  20. wretch-like-me says:

    Hello, Friends:
    This a.m. Joe Stowell’s devotion “Strength For The Journey” reminded me of the following truth that seems appropriate to our discussion.

    “Whether we realize it or not, throughout our lives we have been saturated with false values, and we need to be reprogrammed with truth.

    God’s ways and wisdom are without peer. His Word really is like a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119: 105).

    We need to know what to do with our time, energy, and money. We need to know what to do with our minds. We need to be taught what to do about friends and how to handle enemies. We need to be taught about family, work, and leisure.

    God’s Word is jam-packed with time-tested principles of success for every situation and issue of life.”

    I pray you find these words convicting and encouraging at the same time. I know I did.


  21. pegramsdell says:

    Xavier, I’m with you on the Romney issue, :)

  22. SFDBWV says:

    Xavier, just a follow up. I’m only 62 there are plenty of others older and more thread worn than me. I have been in the battle of spiritual warfare for most of my life, and tho weary and tired I have never quit nor given up. But life has had it’s effect on me, and I am tired.

    I pray for Christ to return for a great many reasons. But the biggest reason is that I want an existance where there is no more sin. Where there is no more cancer, no more deaf or blindness, where there are no need for wheelchairs nor funerals nor tears of sadness. Where the only government is the Kingdom of God with Jesus on the throne.

    Work…As stated here many times, there is a thousand year period where we will be used by Christ to rebuild the world leftover from the great tribulation. What a joy it will be to work together for the benefit of all mankind shoulder to shoulder with Christ as King. and yes resting on the Sabat.

  23. daisymarygoldr says:

    Glad you got to enjoy some meaningful rest doing all that work in your impressive list of to-dos! Personally, words like “Labor Day”, “Union” etc hold no meaning for me and whether it is work at home or outside, all that my little mind is able to grasp is: No work, no food (2 Thess 3:10). And so here in my home, at this point of my life “honey-never-mind…”:) is practically impossible…it is more like honey do or die!

    Agree with, “…our work and our rest still matters to God”. True, as our Creator and Provider, He cares about the way we treat our bodies and the land. However, according to the New Covenant I do not observe Sabbath rest as dictated by Levitical laws. That was meant only for the Israelites under the old covenant. If Christians are emphasizing on rest for the Land, then they should also observe all the other ceremonial, sacrificial and dietary laws as well.

    …and to put this more specifically, if someone insists that farmed land be given rest then it must be insisted that they should also sacrifice sheep for every sin and refrain from eating swine and shellfish! Anyway, don’t intend to make this an issue over here. It is certainly not fun to find myself seated on the opposite side and be subjected to hateful glares from across the table on such non-fundamental matters as these.

    So, in extending this “work and rest” concept to the spiritual level… whether it is rest for my body or the land, for a Christian the focus is not on this physical creation but in the spiritual creation. God rested from His physical creative work but is still “always at His work to this very day” (John 5:17). His rest from physical work was merely a shadow of the reality. The reality that God is re-creating all things anew in Jesus Christ and as His new creation we are still awaiting a full and complete rest!

    God’s real purpose of physical rest was to provide us with spiritual rest—and as others have said above, we cannot rest until we attain the real eternal rest to enter our heavenly Promised Land i.e. the kingdom of God. In the cross, Jesus finished the works we needed for our salvation to enter God’s Kingdom. And by faith in Christ, we who have believed are born again into God’s kingdom and do enter that rest. But then, the kingdom is already, but not yet …again learned this from you MDH!

    Therefore, even though by faith we rest in His finished work of salvation, we also work/labor to persevere faithfully with the hope of attaining complete rest, some day in the future. “Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].” (Heb 4:11). Just my thoughts…

  24. Mart De Haan says:

    daisymaygoldr, I agree with your approach to the law and hope you didn’t misunderstand my intended smile about often seeming to be on the other side of the same table.

  25. foreverblessed says:

    Amen DMG!
    Romans 14:5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
    6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord.

    So some consider a day sacred, others do not. So, whether we do or we dont, we belong to the Lord. see v8

    Let us all sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs together. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord. always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20

  26. daisymarygoldr says:

    Mart, no there is no absolutely misunderstanding and that’s why I meant to say I don’t intend to make non-fundamental matters an issue over here. Sorry, if my comment did not communicate it properly. So, despite the cold aloofness of sitting insecurely on the other side, it is the warmth of your smiles and the loving assurance of others that gives me the courage to express my thoughts on this site:) Hope you understand that I am certainly not a significant, visible member like you. Although invisible and insignificant, I am a sensory nerve ending that is highly sensitive— to pain caused by divisions that tear apart and rend the body of Christ. Thank you so much Mart, for accepting my differences… and allowing me to sit and join in the conversations at the same table:)!

  27. bubbles says:

    what was said to you by me makes me so ashamed, that another apology is needed. what was said was corrupt communication, it wasn’t good, it certainly didn’t edify anyone here, or minister grace to you, the hearer (or reader :)

    The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on
    Nor all your piety and wit can lure it back half and line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it–a true old poem. Again, I’m really sorry that I hurt you.

  28. foreverblessed says:

    Bubbles, you are so daring to do this, thanks a lot.
    Here is a thought to think about. It is part of the evening meditation of C.H. Spurgeon of september 10. (You can find it on Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Ethereal from ethernet)
    Because many times we are hurt by what other christians say to us, then thoughts come into our minds which haunts us. We immediately attack the person who said so to us, instead of us first going to God with it. You were not alone in that, I have done that a lot at home and in my church. And I thaught I had a right to say so.
    Of which I am now ashamed.
    Here it is:

    Evening wolves Habakuk 1:8
    While preparing the present volume, this particular expression recurred to me so frequently, that in order to be rid of its constant importunity I determined to give a page to it. The evening wolf, infuriated by a day of hunger, was fiercer and more ravenous than he would have been in the morning. May not the furious creature represent our doubts and fears after a day of distraction of mind, losses in business, and perhaps ungenerous tauntings from our fellow men? How our thoughts howl in our ears, “Where is now thy God?” How voracious and greedy they are, swallowing up all suggestions of comfort, and remaining as hungry as before. Great Shepherd, slay these evening wolves, and bid thy sheep lie down in green pastures, undisturbed by insatiable unbelief. …

  29. bubbles says:

    thanks for the thoughts mentioned above. that very spurgeon book is around here somewhere. will need to dig that book out. thanks for sharing the thoughts he had, it will save time this evening. i slept a little over 4 hours last night–it had nothing to do with what occurred here, however. so, thank you for taking time to share this.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.