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Work Then Rest




I mentioned to you all in a recent post I'd write this one. I thought it would be a good follow up on time and spending money

"Now, don't work too hard."

"Remember, fun is important, too!"

"I saw this great movie the other day about a workaholic. He never noticed his family or did anything but work. So sad." 

"Rest is good. After all God rested on His Sabbath."

Now all of these statements are true. But the way I've been hearing them as of late, it's almost as if work ethics are being devalued.

And the movies especially, love to have a "theme" where people who work hard are evil. Because, obviously, working hard means you are not paying attention to the "truly important parts of life."

I'll admit, I'm a workaholic. And I'm proud of it.

I'd like to explain why I think it's good to love to work hard. 


1. Too busy for fun and why that's not bad:
"How's life?" 
"Oh, busy, ya know."
"Oh, that's too bad."

I've heard people say that it's important to not be too busy.
I want to ask why?
Where in the Bible does it say we should make sure to have plenty of recreational time?

Here are some verses and adages about KEEPING BUSY:

Proverbs 13:4 A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-10 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Idle hands are the devil's workshop ~ Puritan Proverb

Idleness is a fool's desire ~ Irish Proverb

Being busy is not bad. 
Being busy is far from wrong. 
Being busy is good.

What's wrong is when you choose to be busy doing the wrong things or allow your business to be an excuse to neglect other important things or people. But the solution isn't to do less, but to change your perspective and become busy about the right things. 


2. "Yes, it's good to work, but it shouldn't be your identity." 
I've also heard that we shouldn't find purpose in our work.

These ideas are both true and false.

When I went through a really tough time a while back I did not feel like working. More like sleeping or dying or anything besides living. 

But I made myself get up every morning and dragged myself through those long days of cleaning houses. Of course, it wasn't just the cleaning that helped me out of that stump. I also had to process my emotions, find healing with God's help, and come to terms with doubts. But this all happened while I worked.

I cleaned and I thought and I prayed and healing happened.

I also learned a lot about identity during this time. I pretty much decided it was all garbage. Who cared who I was? I definitely didn't. I am me. That's it. I don't need to define it. My birth certificate states my name. I clean houses and write right now. I enjoy doing a lot of things that many of my friends like to do, too. God directs my beliefs and paths. But still . . . none of this really rested who I was until I realized it didn't matter.

I am me, and that's it.

Now, if I'd decided to call myself Keturah Lamb, the housecleaner before I decided identity didn't matter I might have felt and identity crisis. Because that's not all of me. In fact, I never envisioned being a housecleaner, even though I love it and it makes amazing money.

But now I am completely fine with being called Keturah Lamb, the housecleaner, or whatever label someone else decides to adds after my name. Because I really don't care.

And I've realized it's OK to be identified with you job. It's natural. And it doesn't really change what people think of you.

And it's interesting to see that in the Bible people were often identified by their jobs and it wasn't a bad thing.

We are introduced to Cain and Abel, not by their characteristics but by what they did:
Genesis 4:2b Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 

In genealogies, it sometimes breaks from the list of names to tell us what the people did. There are many such instances, but here a couple:
Genesis 4:20 And Ada bore Jabal: He was the father of such that dwell in tents, and of such that have cattle. 
Genesis 25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field, and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. 
Haggai 1:1b Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governer of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest. 

Jesse introduces his son to Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:11 as he keepeth the sheep. Later Samuel sees that he is ruddy, a direct result of having worked hard and of being healthy.

We also know people by what they did:
John the Baptist, 
Joseph the carpenter 
Samson the Nazarene
Rahab the harlot
Samuel the Prophet 

Of course, something greater defined all of these people: their faith in God. Even so, what they did was a part of who there were and was used to distinguish them from the rest of the world. 


3. "Thou Shalt Not Have Fun."
Of course, I'm joking. No where in the Bible does it say fun is mandatory.

If you don't enjoy what you are doing, then you must be doing the wrong thing, many people think. So of course their solution is find something more fun to do.

This world is all about dodging undesirable work and seeking out pleasure.

And even many Christians think it's important to enjoy what you're doing to the point of not doing something if you don't want to. 

I'm not about to say fun is bad. Or that we shouldn't enjoy ourselves or what we do. I'm all about comedy, about laughing, about spending time with friends and ENJOYING every moment.

But like IS NOT A PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. And our working life will not be 100% bliss. Even so we can still enjoy what we do by choice.

Don't work for enjoyment, but choose to enjoy your work. 

I believe we ought to enjoy working. But not because we are pursuing me, but because we are working. This concept might be a hard one to grasp at first . . . but it's kinda like this: We don't always get to choose our chores, but we can still laugh and love them anyways.

Shirking hasn't been an option until recent times.

Choosing a career — then dumping it for a better one used to be a non-existent option.

Once upon a time, people had to learn to be happy with the job they were born into. And they had to learn to accept that it was a part of who they were.

Now this may sound weird, but I love working so much that at times I wonder how terrible life must be for those who can't work. And I believe that we will have physical work to do in Heaven, because it's so good for us. And it creates real satisfaction and real happiness. 

Just look back at when things were perfect on Earth: God gave Adam and Eve work.


4. Work then Rest.
I'm a workaholic that dreams of sleeping.
Yes, I love rest. And I believe that it's just as important as working. Are you very shocked?

Working and choosing to love working creates a healthy body and a healthy mind. Satisfying sleep follows work. It's as simple as that.

Working is life, not because it's the most important thing about me, but because it's the perfect way God has planned for me to spend my energy. In some ways it's so perfect that I don't see how God won't have us working in Heaven.

Rest IS important. But it's to be followed by six days of labor. Otherwise what are we resting from?

Genesis 2:3b God rested from all His work which He had made. (emphasis added)
Exodus 20:9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work.

Depression? Lethargy? Constant aching? Despondency? Lack of purpose? Here's a little secret. Working, not resting, will usually cure all of that.


Working hard produces the correct amount of fatigue to be able to truly rest.


And this is why I hate how the world portrays workaholics as some sort of selfish, greedy, recluse.

Anyone who truly loves to work hard and does will know that this isn't true. We work out of need, not desire, even if the need may be toward some goal. We work for those we love, not to inflict pain on those we love.

And those who work hard are not hermits. I know I'm not. And most of the hard workers I know aren't either. They are respectable, honest, kind people that understand what it means to use your hands and brains with purpose.

Real workaholics aren't lazy or picky. They will do anything within reason.

Housecleaning is not an easy job. It's not even the most appealing work. But it's the job available to me, and why would I choose a lesser paying job for something that pays well? Yes, my back aches at the end of a day. Yes, I am exhausted and ready for rest when Sabbath comes.

But that doesn't make working bad.

I enjoy my day of rest.
And I enjoy my days of work.
Because I choose to do so.



What about you? Do you love working? Are you trying to master a healthy appreciation for work? It takes time. As a young kid I hated working . . . it's only been the last couple years that I've fully understood the joy of working hard. 
I'd love to hear how your journey has been on this issue!

Comments

  1. Ooh. Wonderful post, Keturah. I need to remember this, I think. When I spent last year earning money for college, all I could think about was getting back to school, and how much more I loved the home than the workplace. Obviously I need to work on an appreciation for work. :) You're so right--God made work as something NATURAL to us, not as a punishment. Christ sanctified it by working in the carpenter's shop. It's something meant for our salvation.

    I think our world is equally thirsty for both sides of the truth: 1) that work is good, and 2) that work is not the only good. America is lazy, but America also worships the false gods of productivity and efficiency...both very good things in themselves which are meant as a means to an end, but which we tend to think of as ends in themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Megan! And thank you for you amazing thoughts! Though I "knew" that, I never made the connection of irony of how our society is both obsessed with laziness and career/ college. Wow, what a thought!

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  2. This is such an awesome post, and really encouraging to me! I think I'm slowly learning the same thing (in regards to school, mostly), but it's still SO easy to procrastinate on the work. And then I feel bleh afterwards for not throwing myself whole-heartedly into what God has called me to do. :P

    I agree. Work is incredibly important. And so is rest, so we can retain the strength to KEEP SERVING. (And I love how you referenced the Bible so much!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lila! I'm so glad you are learning the importance of diligence in everything. It for sure starts with school and every day life ;) And of course — referencing the Bible makes more work (haha) in writing a post, but it's really the only way to share truth ;)

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  3. This is lovely! When I first started working, I hated it. I felt like I had no time to do the things I wanted to do (and it was a job I really had no interest in doing - managing the office of a big repair company). But once my attitude changed, work became, well, enjoyable. I found that I can be a hero when I tell panicked customers that everything is okay, we can fix their unit, they don't need to worry. I can challenge myself by finding new and more efficient ways to get things done. I can make people smile when talking to them over the phone. I feel accomplishment and satisfaction when I think of the restrooms I've cleaned, the people I've helped, the emails I've sent.

    I think that's what we need to realize and find out - where is the accomplishment in our work? However small it may seem, how are you helping people? Yeah, Keturah may not be working at NASA, putting people on the moon, but you know what? Someone is going to walk into their house and it's going to be so spotlessly clean, and they're going to smile and feel a little less burdened, and now they can go on to cook dinner or play with the family in a clean house, and that's something to be proud of!!! Even to someone who's just working at McDonalds is helping - have you seen how people smile when their food is ready? You can make their day by being friendly to them at the register or as you wait tables or as you mop the floor.

    It's in doing whatever God has called you to do - clean toilets, sit at a desk, mow lawns, whatever - to the best of your ability, with a smile on your face. Not just doing whatever makes the most money and will make the news as some amazing accomplishment to mankind.

    Also, I love working because I get bored so easily...it gives me something to do. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For awhile I did office work at a ministry called Above Rubies. I hated the work at first, but also grew to love it for all the same reasons as you just said! I never thought of it being like a hero, but yeah. It’s so great to make others smile 😊 and yes! Who can get bored when they are busy? 😉 love your long reply!

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