By Kate Ritchie
Most winters we get at least one heavy blanket of snow. Schools get canceled. Our family hunkers down and cancels our commitments. We know the safest thing is to have what we need at home, to not leave our haven of rest for a day or two. We pull ourselves away from things that pull from the outside, and we rest in the comfort of our warm home.
A few weeks ago, we had a snowstorm in our area. I usually feel excited about the opportunity to slow down, but the most challenging part is when the sun comes back out. Even though temperatures may still keep the snow on the ground and prevent us from traveling outside of our home, I begin to feel restless.
Finding the balance between work and rest is incredibly difficult. The struggle only increased when I became a parent. I want to live in a way that models to my children and encourages them to walk in the goodness of a healthy balance of work and rest.
Work is good. Without work, nothing gets accomplished. Work tills the gardens and plants the seeds of life. Rest is good. Without rest, our strength to work fails. We need rest. Seeds untangle under the ground, becoming tiny sprouts while our heads rest comfortably on a pillow. Rest is waiting while the work we cannot control is overseen by Someone greater than us. Rest is a work of trust.
I believe both work and rest are holy.
God creates people but gives them a job with purpose. Genesis 2:15 says,
"The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it."
God also commands rest. The fourth of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:8-9;11 says,
"' Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,… For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.'"
God models and commands his children to work and rest for his glory (Gen 2:1-3). He does the work of creation but intentionally rests on the seventh day. He then blesses that day and declares it holy. The problem with both work and rest is that The Fall broke them and all of God's creation. When we chose to sin and live outside of our relationship with God, every part of creation was fractured including our work and rest. We have a proclivity to worship created things above the Creator (Rm 1:18-25). We often elevate creation and creatures into things worthy of worship. Though work and rest have a purpose in God's good creation, we often look to them as our primary purpose for living. Work can become our ultimate sense of worth as a person. Rest can become our sense of ultimate joy and peace. When rightly ordered, work and rest can give us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, but only as a gift from our Creator, who is the source of our ultimate worth, joy, and peace. Work and rest can never satisfy us like Jesus can.
How do we know if our lives have built work or rest at the center?
Anything that becomes central to you or your family outside of Christ will begin to control your family. If your work or rest is interrupted or taken away, you may become restless, anxious, insecure, defeated, or angry. You may feel your work or rest controls your sense of well-being and your emotions.
Nevertheless, when God is at the center of your life work and rest have a purpose, but they do not control you. Christ-followers, our faith lies in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Jn 19:30). When God is at the center, work and rest become simply another avenue to give God glory, another way to lean on the faith we have in God, and another way to show Jesus you love him. When Christ is at the center of your work and rest, ultimately, your life becomes less about you and more about Him!
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatian 2:20
Seven Family Reflection Questions Regarding Work and Rest:
- Are our work and rest motivated out of a desire to reflect and obey God?
- Do we see both work and rest as a way to worship God?
- Do we steward work and rest as opportunities to point our children to Christ?
- Are we experiencing joy from Christ in our work and our rest?
- Are we walking in a healthy balance of both work and rest?
- Are we having faith in God as we work and rest?
- Do we see how the Gospel of Jesus is displayed and gives us the freedom to work and rest?
Looking for some structure or guidance in family’s rhythm of rest and family discipleship? Check out our Krates! We hope to help guiding families through intentional discipleship and Gospel conversations!