Today’s verse is one of the most familiar and often quoted verses in the Bible, and I can’t help but think it’s because, deep down, we all know it’s what we need to do. But do we? Are we doers of the Word, or just hearers? Worse yet, as communicators of the gospel, are we guilty of not practicing what we preach?
I can only speak for myself, of course, and I know “me” all too well. I know the strong work ethic my dad taught and modeled when I was growing up—and I know I take great pride in carrying on the tradition. I am a “multi-tasker extraordinaire”! I thrive on busyness, and I do my best work under pressure and deadlines. If you want to bring out the snobbery and judgmentalism in me, just show me someone who doesn’t work for a living. But, in all honesty, that’s my problem and not theirs, isn’t it?
At the same time, I know the Bible says that if we don’t work, we shouldn’t eat. In other words, no one—especially a believer—who is physically and mentally capable of working should sit around and let someone else subsidize them. But neither should we who are blessed to be able to work allow that work to become an idol. In today’s busy world, it’s easy to do. But what’s the point? Being busy for the sake of…well, being busy…is not the same as working for the Kingdom.
God will never call us to do more than He has equipped and enabled us to do. Some of us are in seasons and situations that require more time investment than others—raising small children, caring for aging parents, working fulltime jobs (sometimes all at once!)—but God has made provision for rest, even in the midst of all that busyness. And it’s found in the above scripture.
Is spending time with Him our priority? Is it something we do first and always, or is it just one more task on our busy to-do list that we try to check off before day’s end? In a world that is rushing to judgment and destruction at a frantic pace, we would be wise to remember that, as Christians, we are IN the world but not OF it.
If we are going to be effective in rescuing the individuals who are still part of that frantic, hell-bound world, we need to first come aside with the Savior and, like the apostle John at the Last Supper, lean up against Him and listen to His heartbeat. When we do, we will come away rested, refreshed, and renewed, and we will work with joy to fulfill the tasks to which He has so graciously called us.
Rest well, fellow laborers—and work hard.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs.
Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.