Off To Work We Go
How easy it is to focus on what God does, rather than who He is, especially for ministry-minded parents. Why do you suppose children of such parents sometimes lose their way? Is it because we can get so involved in the work, we forget to focus on the essence of the ministry—the splendor of God Himself?
The prayer in Psalm 91:16-17 seems to affirm this point.
May your deeds be shown to your servants, your
splendor to their children. May the favor of the
Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of
our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.
My husband and I raised our five daughters while serving in a full time ministry. When the girls were very young, we discovered this verse, which reminded us to be careful not to allow the ministry to trump God’s holiness. We discovered when we valued God’s favor over our success or our own way, He secured our work, as well as our relationship with our children. If you ask our daughters today, I believe they will tell you they never felt upstaged by our ministry. As Christians, we invite God’s favor when we point others (especially our children) to God’s majesty, instead of what we do.
For six days, God spoke His creation into being and specifically blessed the living creatures. On the seventh day, He blessed the day itself and made it holy. Hmmm. Why did He decide to bless a day? “ . . . because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2:3 NIV
Did God really need a rest? The Hebrew word for rest in this context is shâbath, which means to cease, desist, to celebrate. This is the origin of the word Sabbath, and it’s the first mention of God making something holy. What was He celebrating? Not His work. He was celebrating His holiness.
God gave us the Sabbath to remind us that our rest in Him is paramount to the success of our work for Him. My concordance has approximately 300 references to the word rest. Do you think God has a message for us? The Sabbath is a weekly commemoration of what God desires for us on a moment-by-moment basis. Bob Thieme, a Bible scholar in the seventies called this the faith-rest life. God doesn’t call us to work for Him; He calls us to rest in Him and allow Him to work through us. This is how we celebrate Him, not just once a week, but as a way of life.
We all know that physical rest from work doesn’t always give us the emotional and spiritual reprieve we need. This we will have when we allow God to establish the work of our hands as He finds favor with His work in our hearts.
Our busyness never impresses anyone, least of all, our children. As I recently heard a speaker say, the purpose of our life at work is to show that God is at work in our lives. Great reason to celebrate, don’t you think?